Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Carol Sisson

Second Advisor

Drew Moser

Third Advisor

Skip Trudeau


Research has continually indicated that a family member disclosing a homosexual identity creates a traumatic experience for those they disclose to. This reality proves especially true when a parent discloses a homosexual identity to their children and even more so when faith plays a role in the family atmosphere. The present study looked at the experience of four Christian college students whose parents had come out to them in order to find commonalities. The researcher asked the following questions in order to understand this phenomenon:

(a) What is the experience of college students at faith-based institutions who have a parent disclose a homosexual identity?

(b) What effects do the faith of the individual and the college environment have on the experience?

The researcher found six themes between the experiences of all four participants: family relationships, faith development, impact of college environment, learning to disclose, sexual identity development, and present view of homosexuality. The most significant finding emerged as the importance of disclosing the parent’s identity to safe and supportive individuals and the potential mental health repercussions that occur when disclosure and processing do not take place.