Coming out process is a necessary step for a LGBTQ person in order to develop integrative sexual and transgender identity (Cass, 1984; Manning, 2014). and mental health of LGBTQ people is under strong influence by the family and social support and their reactions to coming out (D’Augelli, 2002; Ryan et al., 2010; Ryan, Legate, & Winstein, 2015). The goal of the present research is to explore what is the experience of mothers of LGBTQ children in Serbia after the children’s coming out? Using the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 2015), this study explored the experience of eight mothers of LGBTQ youth in Serbia after their children came out. From the analysis 4 main themes emerged: We started a conversation, and then he told me everything: what, how, where” – The context of finding out, “…and that is something very terrifying, that someone could hurt my child because he is what he is” – Mothers’ reactions, “I needed to see that he is completely well” – Process of adaptation, “Are we strong enough to bear all that?” – Parent and family identity. The results have shown that after finding out, mothers have a broad variety of reactions from surprise and shock to anger and sadness (Ben-Ari, 1989), after which the process of accepting child’s identity begins. That process was composed of different questions and challenges mothers faced and needed to overcome, either with professional or support from co-parent, with social support and information gathered from children or internet. The adaptation process resulted in integration of child’s identity in family’s identity, showing a developmental path mothers go through in order to accept child’s identity, but also showing possibilities for practical interventions in working with LGBTQ children and their families.


mothers of LGBTQ youth, coming out process, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, phenomenological method

Author Bio(s)

Vedrana Mirković is a PhD student at the psychology department of University Novi Sad, Serbia. She offers counselling services and psychotherapy LGBTQ youth and their families in the Group COME OUT. Please direct correspondence to vedranamirkovic@uns.ac.rs

Ivan Jerković is a professor in the psychology department at the University Novi Sad, Serbia, where he teaches developmental psychology and children psychopathology. Please direct correspondence to ivan.jerkovic@ff.uns.ac.rs.


We wish to thank Maja Miskovic for her valuable comments on the previous version of this article.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.