Heterosexual Chinese Americans' experiences of their lesbian and gay sibling's coming out

Jill Huang, Fordham University


This dissertation study explored the experiences of first-generation, operationalized as individuals who were born in the United States to immigrant parents, heterosexual Chinese and Taiwanese Americans who have gay biological siblings. Participants had been aware of their gay sibling’s sexual orientation for over two years. Ten participants, three Chinese Americans and seven Taiwanese Americans, completed demographic questionnaires and in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed using grounded theory methodology. The purpose was to explore the participants’ overall experience in relation to their gay sibling’s coming out, how their sibling relationship was affected over time, how their family relationships were affected over time, and how traditional Asian values affected their relationships to their gay sibling and parents over time. The results of the interviewed highlighted the importance of sibling relationships to the coming out process. Siblings typically bonded over the gay sibling’s sexual orientation disclosure, became more self-reflective, and became more politically active. Struggles accepting their gay sibling’s sexual orientation revolve around conflicts between homosexuality and their ethnic cultural values, family values, and faith. Clinical and training implications in the college counseling setting are provided on how to work with heterosexual siblings who have difficulty coming to terms with having a gay sibling and the resulting family and social dynamics.

Subject Area

Asian American Studies|GLBT Studies|Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Huang, Jill, "Heterosexual Chinese Americans' experiences of their lesbian and gay sibling's coming out" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3712443.