Despite the growing attention in the literature addressing the experiences of lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender (LBGT) youth and family acceptance, few researchers are examining these experiences in the relational context of being a grandchild or how grandparent–grandchild relationships enhance or hinder LGBT grandchildren’s experiences, especially when grandchildren disclose their sexual orientation to grandparents. This chapter discusses the important theoretical lenses used to understand and aids the study of LGB grandparenthood and reviews the literature on LGB grandparenthood and when grandchildren identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, and queer (LBGTQ). Perhaps more importantly to the advancement of the literature on LGB grandparenting, the chapter provides recommendations for future research on grandparenthood in the context of sexual orientation, and hopes that discussion is a call to action for family scientists, gerontologists, psychologists, and sociologists to closely examine grandparenthood when grandparents, grandchildren, or grandchildren’s parents identify as LGBTQ.
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This book brings together the work of experts from a variety of fields such as adult development, adult education, family science, family therapy and counseling, gerontology, psychology, social work, and sociology. It is organized into four sections, each of which contains chapters reflecting a given theme as it pertains to grandparenting. Section one explores the breadth of the grandparent role from multiple theoretical perspectives, explores both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies in the study of grandparenting. It examines cohort effects and emphasizes the multigenerational developmental contexts in which grandparents and grandchildren are situated. In addition, it presents variations on grandparenting: grandfathers, great-grandparenting, and step-grandparents. Section two focuses on the diversity among grandparents, examining such issues as variations in sexual orientation in such persons, grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, and changing gender roles among grandparents. Section three examines the difficulties and challenges that grandparents face in enacting their roles as well as the resources and strengths they bring to bear. It discusses the impact of having to cope with both acute and chronic illness on intergenerational relationships, the design and implementation of interventions to positively affect emotional functioning. It discusses the clinical case study approaches to helping grandparents, resilience and resourcefulness in the face of stress. Section four emphasizes the societal and cultural aspects of grandparenting, exploring issues of race and ethnicity, grandparent education, global grandparenting, and many dimensions of social policy as they relate to grandparents. The last chapter pulls the material together in presenting a multidimensional, multileveled, and dynamic picture of grandparenting stressing the influence of evolving historical and interpersonal contexts on such persons and their grandchildren. It also offers suggestions for future research over the next two decades.