Document Type

Journal Article


Geographical literature has predominantly presented the heterosexual nuclear family home as an oppressive environment for gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) youth, reporting that homophobic abuse, violence and expulsion are not uncommon outcomes of coming out at home. While not denying the widespread reality of these experiences, little consideration has been given to GLB youth whose disclosure at home is affirmed by parents and siblings, nor the reasons for and consequences of this acceptance and support. This article begins to fill this gap, contributing to geographies of sexuality, home and family. Through a critical reading of autobiographical coming out narratives from Australia, I reconsider the experience of the nuclear family home for well supported GLB youth, arguing against the normalization of the homophobic nuclear family home. Through the support of parents and siblings, family homes can become sites of resistance to wider practices of heterosexism, and support for GLB youth. Heterosexual identity does not ‘essentially’ generate heterosexist reactions and attitudes: some heterosexual parents and siblings welcome and nourish sexual difference, and this provides fissures in overarching structures of heteronormativity which allow for the generation of non-heterosexual subjectivities and desires. I contend that this actually ‘queers’ the family home, providing a space for the fluorescence of non-heterosexuality within an apparently heteronormative site.