Parents of LGBT+ teens are less accepting of their children than 20 years ago, an alarming study has found.
Research published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that parental behaviours toward LGBT+ youth have steadily worsened for nearly two decades, a result which “surprised” the report’s top researchers considering the overall rise of acceptance towards queer people in recent years.
“This increasing societal acceptance really doesn’t filter down to youth who are still in school, who are still being discriminated against or victimised by their classmates,” the report’s co-author Hilary Rose, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia, in Canada, said.
“And it doesn’t trickle down to parent-child relations. Frankly, we were surprised by that.”
LGB young people say they feel ‘disconnected’ from their parents.
The study found that parents of LBG teens in particular were less supportive of their children than those from 20 years ago, compared to parents of heterosexual teens, whose support has increased.
Researchers looked at data from the McCreary Centre Society, a non-profit youth health organisation which conducts anonymous surveys of high school students in British Columbia every five years.
The authors of the study wrote that while “heterosexual boys and girls reported more family connectedness and mother/father support across all four survey years in general… there were many instances where bisexual, gay and lesbian youth reported lower levels of family connectedness and mother/father support”.
Co-author Rose suggested that because social norms surrounding sexual minorities have eased, youths are finding it easier to come out at younger ages – sometimes even before young people go through puberty.
Explaining her findings further, Rose suggested parents’ decreasing acceptance might be a symptom of a wider backlash to social norms easing around sexual minorities. In recent political debates, Rose said, marriage equality and LGBT+ issues have been discussed, thereby exposing LGBT+ issues in households.