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Families We Keep: LGBTQ Adults and their Enduring Bonds with Parents

DR. RIN RECZEK | THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

There is no “till death do us part” vow between parents and children. And yet, parent-adult child relationships are far more enduring than the marital relationships that made this phrase famous, with relatively few adult children and parents reporting estrangement. This intergenerational imperative persists even when parent-adult child relationships are unsatisfactory or even deeply damaging, as is sometimes the case when an adult child is LGBTQ. Drawing on interviews with seventy-six LGBTQ adults and forty-four of their parents, this talk gives a sociological account for why even the most difficult intergenerational ties persist—and why some shouldn’t.

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