Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Children of gay parents-Psychology, Gender identity, Child development, Boys-Psychology, Sex role, Qualitative research, Adult-male children, Children, Lesbian families, Gender development


The purpose of this study was to explore the subjective experiences and perceptions of adult-male children of planned lesbian families as relates to their gender development. Furthermore, this study sought to explore if/how adult-male children of planned lesbian families perceive their family form to have impacted their constructions and expressions of masculinity and male identity. No study to date has exclusively, nor deeply, explored the subjective experiences and perceptions of this particular population as relates specifically to their gender development. This qualitative study relied on intensive interviewing as its data collection method. Interviews were semi-structured and conducted in person or via Skype. The study's sample consisted of 12 participants (all white identified) between the ages of 18-30. The findings suggest that adult-male children reared in planned lesbian families: 1) largely experience themselves as expressing and conceptualizing masculinity in non-traditional ways; 2) feel overwhelmingly positive about the non-traditional ways in which they embody male identity; 3) most frequently name dimensions of emotionality as the qualities and characteristics they possess that constitute non-traditional expressions of masculinity/male identity; 4) experience some form of conflict (internal/external) around their non-traditional expressions of masculinity/male identity, mostly during adolescence; and 5) believe their mothers' gender identities, gender expressions, and gender-related attitudes likely had the greatest impact on their gender development. This study has implications for future research, as well as for social work theory and practice.




iv, 114 pages. Thesis (M.S.W)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 94-103)