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Journal of Contemporary Social Sciences and Humanities

ISSN 2985-0541 (Print)

ISSN 2985-055X (Online)

“Will Life Be Difficult for Them?”: Thai Parents’/Caregivers’ Responses to the Disclosure of Their LGBTQI+ Children’s Gender/Sexual Identity

  • Sakol Sopitarchasak, Faculty of Learning Sciences and Education, Thammasat University, Pathum Thani, Thailand, Corresponding author, Email: sakol@lsed.tu.ac.th
  • Ronnapoom Samakkeekarom, Faculty of Public Health, Thammasat University, Pathum Thani, Thailand


Studies worldwide have indicated that parents/caregivers of LGBTQI+ children experience difficulties understanding their children’s gender/sexual identity; this lack of comprehension leads to a lowered quality of life for the children. However, little is known about the experience of parents/caregivers of LGBTQI+ children in Thailand. To fill this knowledge gap and inform future interventions, this qualitative study explores how parents/caregivers of LGBTQI+ people in Thailand respond to and manage the stress of the circumstance. Twelve parents/caregivers (ages: 48–70) of eleven LGBTQI+ people in Thailand responded to a semi-structured, in-depth interview. The interview transcripts were analyzed with an inductive thematic analytical approach, and the results were further discussed under the family stress theoretical framework. Most parents/caregivers initially experienced difficulties in accepting their children’s gender/sexual identity and had concerns for their children’s future, but subsequently accepted or came to terms with the disclosure. The most common coping mechanism among the participants was rationalizations, which seemed to help them alter the meanings associated with having LGBTQI+ children or emphasize the absence of other stressful events. Family resources such as family cohesion and communication skill seemed to be critical regarding the parents’/caregivers’ positive responses. Relationships among families with LGBTQI+ children and their accessibility to relevant information seemed to strengthen family resources. Social interventions to normalize diverse genders/sexualities, eliminate discrimination, and reinforce family resources through general and context-specific approaches are recommended for supporting families with LGBTQI+ children.

Keywords: parents, caregivers, family stress, gender, sexual identity, LGBTQI+, Thai

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DOI: 10.14456/jcsh.2023.2


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