LGBT-Parent Families

pp 177-192


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Grandparents

  • Nancy A. OrelAffiliated withGerontology Program, Department of Human Services, College of Health and Human Services, Bowling Green State University Email author 
  • , Christine A. FruhaufAffiliated withDepartment of Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University

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Researchers have empirically examined the grandparent–grandchild relationship for over 50 years and have concluded that the grandparent–grandchild connection is of value, either directly or indirectly for both grandparents and grandchildren. However, there has been a lack of attention given to understanding the diversity and contextual variation within this intergenerational relationship when grandparents self-identify as LGBT. This chapter provides a brief overview of a life course model on grandparent–grandchild relationships and the current literature that illustrates the emerging picture of the diversity of grandparent experiences within the grandparent–grandchild relationship that includes the salience of sexual orientation on the grandparent role. It also presents approaches and strategies that would enhance programs and services directed toward LGBT grandparents and grandchildren, as well as empower both LGBT grandparents and grandchildren. Finally, it provides suggestions for further research that would address the intersectionality of grandchildren’s gender, parental sexual orientation, class, race, ethnicity, and sociological context.