Lived Experience of Older Gay Men Who Fathered Children: Implications for Counseling

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Fall 2016


There are an unknown number of older gay men who fathered children during the mid-1960s to mid-1970s convergence of anti-war and civil rights protests when a strict Western hegemonic masculinity was enforced and homosexuality was pathologized by the medical field. The primary focus of this study is to gain a better understanding of how older gay men made decisions around heterosexual marriage and fathering children. This qualitative study used a phenomenological approach to explore the lived experiences of older gay men who became fathers as described by each participant. Participants in this study reported varied experiences with coming out to a spouse and children, navigating new family relationships, seeking professional help, their role as a gay grandfather, and the psychosocial developmental stage work they currently are undertaking. Additionally, this study identified different themes that arose from the participant’s stories. Implications of findings are discussed and recommendations are provided.


Linda Ball

Subject Categories

Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences