Abstract: (WITHDRAWN) The Relationships between LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Grandchildren and Their Grandparents (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

116P (WITHDRAWN) The Relationships between LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Grandchildren and Their Grandparents

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Ahuva Even-Zohar, PhD, Senior lecturer & Social worker, Ariel University, Israel
Background and Purpose: In recent years, the number of young people "coming out of the closet", and identifying themselves as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people has been rising. However, research on this topic in the context of grandparenting is still limited. To fill this gap, the aim of the current research was to understand the relationships between LGBT grandchildren and their grandparents from the grandchildren's point of view.

Methods: The study was conducted using a qualitative method, according to the phenomenological-interpretive approach. After receiving the approval of the Ethics Committee, the research participants were recruited through social networks on the Internet, via organizations belonging to the LGBT community, and through “Snow Ball” or "a friend brings a friend". 12 Israeli grandchildren, (aged 21-33, mean age 26.8) were interviewed by social work students using in-depth semi-structured interviews. The interviews lasted from 60-90 minutes, and all interviews were recorded and transcribed. Each interviewer read the transcripts several times to obtain a complete picture, then dividing the text into meaningful content categories. The categories obtained were analyzed in a way that made it possible to understand each category and its components, to draw connections between them, and to construct major themes.

Findings: The findings are divided into three main themes:

(1) Grandchildren's considerations when making the decision to disclose their sexual orientation to their grandparents:(1.1) Grandparents' characteristics such as origin, tradition, conservatism, religiosity, and health status. (1.2) The relationships between the grandchildren and their grandparents' pre-disclosure their sexual orientation. (1.3) The role of the parents, their attitude and opinion about this process.

(2) Disclosure of grandchildren's sexual orientation to their grandparents: (2.1) The grandchildren's ambivalence either to tell their grandparents directly or through a family member. (2.2) Grandparents' reactions to their grandchildren's sexual orientation.

(3) The relationships between the grandchildren and grandparents after the disclosure.

Grandparents' responses range from ignoring ("My grandfather didn't want to talk about it...") to warm and concerned reactions ("My grandmother set our wedding ceremony..."). Most of the grandchildren felt that their grandparents accept them as they are. A repetitive response by grandparents referred to future family life, and the grandchildren's ability to have offspring. In most cases, there were no changes in the grandchildren's relationships with their grandparents, and in some cases the relationships even strengthened following disclosure.

Conclusion and Implications: In view of the increasing prevalence of LGBT young people, it is necessary to take into account the sexual orientation of grandchildren. Since the relationships between grandparents and grandchildren contribute to both of them it is important to continue to study the way in which grandparents on the one hand, and grandchildren on the other, build their unique relationships, and to encourage communication and connections between the generations.