Walls and bridges: how coupled gay men and lesbians manage their intergenerational relationships

J Marital Fam Ther. 2002 Jul;28(3):327-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2002.tb01190.x.


Eighty respondents in 20 gay male and 20 lesbian couples were interviewed in depth to determine the nature and influences of their intergenerational relationships. Most respondents reported that their partner relationships were not affected by parental disapproval. Both the lesbian and gay male participants assertively defended the emotional, intergenerational boundaries around their unions. However, the gay men emphasized the importance of independence from their parents, whereas the lesbians sought harmonious intergenerational connections. The findings suggest how Bowen's ideas about intergenerational relationships may need to be modified to reflect the gender-specific ways coupled gay men and lesbians manage their family relationships.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Attitude
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Spouses / psychology*