Lesbian, Gay, And Bisexual Adults’ Recollections Of Others’ Reactions To Their Early Gender Non-Conformity

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SLIIT Journal of Humanities and Sciences


Globally, gender non-conforming (GNC) behaviors are identified as one of the earliest precursors of non-heterosexual identity. The role of reactions by key persons such as parents, teachers and peers to such behaviors may be important for sexual identity development. In Sri Lanka, there are currently no scholarly data on lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults’ recollections of their early experiences, particularly those involving how others reacted to their early GNC and gender atypical behaviors. By collecting narratives, this exploratory research paper addresses this gap by examining how 26 LGB adults recalled the manner in which their parents, teachers, and peers responded to their gender-atypical and gender non-conforming behaviors during childhood and adolescence. A participant-focused thematic analysis highlighted the following themes in participants’ recollections: permissiveness of adults towards childhood gender non-conformity for both boys and girls; a shift in adults’ attitudes during adolescence to be more regulatory; and differences between male and female participants in their recollections of peers’ reactions to their GNC behaviors by their peers. These findings suggest the nuances of recollections about growing up as GNC children and adolescents, and the impact these experiences had on later acceptance of a non-heterosexual identity. Future research could begin by observing actual gender nonconformity and gender atypical behaviors in children and adolescence.


Adult, Bisexual, Childhood gender non-conforming behaviors, Gay, Lesbian

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