Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Maryann Syers

Second Advisor

Phu Phan

Third Advisor

Laura Boisen


Homophobic attitudes are detrimental to the safety and well-being of gays and lesbians. To determine how attitudes in family members of gays and lesbians are formed, how they change, and what effect having a gay or lesbian family member has on attitudes toward homosexuality, 10 Central Minnesota parents of gays and lesbians were interviewed. Results were related to theories of social deviance, social construction, and cognitive dissonance. Findings indicate parents' initial attitudes were influenced by societal institutions, parents changed their attitudes out of love for their children, and attitudes were changed through research and membership in parent support groups. As a result of having a gay or lesbian child many parents became active supporters of gay rights, and several parents indicated their lives were enriched. Findings are compared to the literature and implications for practice, policy and research are presented.


SC 11.MSW.2001.Jorgense.M

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Social Work Commons