Biographical Work of Parents of Children with Non-Normative Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity. By: Gajek, Katarzyna. 2024. Qualitative Sociology Review. Vol. 20 Issue 1, p42-58.

This paper aims to reconstruct the biographical work (Corbin and Strauss) undertaken by parents of non-normative people. The initiating event of biographical work is the disclosure of a non-normative sexual orientation and/or gender identity by the child. For many parents, this is an event that causes a breakdown of previous schemes of action, a gradual loss of control, and suffering. The empirical data consist of autobiographical narratives of parents of people with non-normative sexual orientation and/or genderidentity. The study involved mothers and fathers residing throughout Poland, who were selected according to the snowball procedure. The data were collected through the narrative interview technique and compiled according to the analytical procedure proposed by Fritz Schütze, which is part of the interpretative research paradigm. In the course of four parallel biographical processes (contextualizing, coming to terms, reconstituting identity, and recasting biography), the new experience is integrated into the biography, its consequences are understood and accepted, a coherent identity is reconstituted and a new course for one’s life are charted. The analysis of the narrators’ biographical work has made it possible to identify three categories that organize the course of the parents’ lives and identities–stigma, normalization, and activism.