Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Social Work

First Advisor

Kimberly Bender, Ph.D.


Family rejection, LGBTQ youth, Resilience, Youth homelessness


Queer and transgender young people are overrepresented among youth and young adults experiencing homelessness and housing instability. Families' rejection of their youth's queer and transgender identities is one of the causes of this overrepresentation, as families force young people out of the home or create a home environment that is so hostile that youth chose to leave. While the relationship between family rejection and queer and trans youth homelessness is well-documented quantitatively, there is not a scholarly consensus on what family rejection looks like, how queer and trans youth experiences that rejection, and how they make decisions about where to live after leaving home.

This dissertation study used grounded theory methodology to examine these questions. Two in-depth interviews were conducted with fifteen queer and trans young adults who had experienced both family rejection of their queer or trans identities and housing instability. Study participants reported a variety of rejection behaviors from their families after coming out as queer or trans, including escalating abuse and neglect, heterosexist and cisgenderist conflict, silence and isolation, and controlling youth's appearance. These actions caused youth to feel pain, disconnect from their families, stifled, resistance, and uncertainty. When making decisions about when and how to leave the family home and where to live, youth reported three techniques of resilience: strategizing, coping, and connecting. The findings illustrate how young people are resilient when confronted with the dual stress of family rejection and housing instability and offer implications for social work research and practice.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Jonah DeChants

File size

170 p.

File format





Social work, LGBTQ studies, Social research

Available for download on Monday, October 04, 2021