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Relationship, Marriage, and Parenthood Aspirations among Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Assigned Female at Birth

Godfrey LM, James-Kangal N, Newcomb ME, Whitton SW

Journal of Family Psychology

This study examined aspirations for future long-term committed relationships, marriage, and parenthood in a sample of 392 racially diverse sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth assigned female at birth (AFAB) aged 16-20. Differences by gender identity, sexual identity, and race/ethnicity were assessed, as were associations with contextual variables including minority stressors, SGM community involvement, perceived partner availability, and relationship experiences. Results showed that the majority of SGM-AFAB youth viewed long-term committed relationships as important and likely, whereas only about half of participants had high aspirations to get married and have children someday. Those who did view marriage and parenthood as important perceived that it is feasible for them to achieve these outcomes someday. These constructs did not differ by race/ethnicity. There were differences by gender identity and sexual identity, such that cisgender women reported higher aspirations for marriage and parenthood than did gender minorities, and those with binary sexual identities reported higher aspirations for marriage than did those with nonbinary sexual identities. Examination of the contextual variables revealed that relationship experience variables were the most consistently associated with aspirations for committed relationships, marriage, and parenthood. In contrast, victimization and perceived partner availability were not associated with any of the family formation aspirations. As SGM individuals are increasingly granted legal rights affecting their ability to marry and form families, research is needed to help inform efforts to promote their relationship health while considering that they may have unique aspirations for relationships, marriage, and parenthood compared to the general public.

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