Article published in Journal of Lesbian Studies

Our article on lesbian young adult characters in novels has been published in the Journal of Lesbian Studies!

Cook, J., Rostosky, S.S., & Riggle, E.D.B. (2013). Gender role models in award – winning fiction for young lesbians.  Journal of Lesbian Studies, 17, 150-166.  DOI:     10.1080/10894160.2012.691416   

Novels provide role models for young adult lesbians and thus may influence their identity development. This study focused on 16 lesbian protagonists identified in 11 young adult novels that received 2011 Lambda Literary Award nominations. Content analyses revealed six themes. Three themes defied traditional gender stereotypes: Asserting Oneself, Pursuing Intimacy with Another Woman, and Breaking Free of Constraints to Authentic Self-Expression. Three themes reinforced gender stereotypes: Negative Emotional Experiences Associated with Lesbian Identity, Traditional Masculine Gender Expression, and Traditional Gender Role-Based Sexual Scripts. Each theme is discussed in light of its possible contribution to lesbian identity development.

Article Published in Family Process

Our article on the positive aspects of being the parent of an LGBTQ identified child has been published online.  A download is available on our Publications page.  The final print article has not appeared yet.

Gonzalez, K.A., Rostosky, S.S., Odom, R.D., & Riggle, E.D.B. (2012). The positive aspects of being the parent of an LGBTQ child. Family Process, x, 1-13. doi: 10.1111/famp.12009

Parenting an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer) identified child presents unique opportunities for growth and development. This study focused on self-reported perceptions of the positive aspects of being the parent of an LGBTQ child. Participants (N = 142) were mothers (83.8%) and fathers (16.2%) of LGBTQ identified individuals who responded to an open-ended online survey. Thematic analysis revealed five primary themes: Personal Growth (open mindedness, new perspectives, awareness of discrimination, and compassion), Positive Emotions (pride and unconditional love), Activism, Social Connection, and Closer Relationships (closer to child and family closeness). The practice implications of these findings for supporting parents in envisioning positive relationship outcomes for themselves and their children are highlighted in the discussion.

Article Published in International Perspectives in Psychology

Article on positive themes in LGBT identities in Spanish-speaking countries has been published!  Go to our Publications List to view the full article.

Almario, M., Riggle, E.D.B., Rostosky, S.S., & Alcalde, M.C. (2013). Positive themes in LGBT self-identities in Spanish-speaking countries. International Perspectives in Psychology, 2(1), 1-13.

Positive self-identity is an important component of well-being. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender/transsexual (LGBT)-identified individuals in Spanish-speaking countries, forming and maintaining a positive identity is important to countering the negative impact of minority stress. An online survey collected self-reported data from participants in 15 Spanish-speaking countries (n = 121). Qualitative thematic analysis revealed eight positive identity themes: personal insight and strong sense of self; strong connections with family and friends; belonging to a community and being a role model for others; authenticity and honesty; involvement in social justice activism; freedom from gender-prescribed roles and to explore sexual expression and different types of relationships; empathy and compassion for others, including an awareness of prejudice toward others; and irrelevance or neutrality of sexual or gender identities. These findings suggest that people across nationalities may have similar experiences of positive identity and well-being related to their sexual and gender identities. Community leader- and counselor-facilitated interventions that empower LGBT individuals and groups are discussed as opportunities for enhancement of well-being through engagement and activism.

UK Appalachian Center Forum, April 20, 2012 – Read our comments

Cultivating a Positive Environment for LGBTQ Individuals in Appalachia

Ellen D.B. Riggle

Sharon S. Rostosky

Panel Presentation sponsored by the Appalachian Center, University of Kentucky, Friday April 20, 2012

 A Positive View of LGBTQ: Embracing Identity and Cultivating Well-Being is based on a national sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer identified individuals.  But the book has its origins in local events and local interviews that we have done (and includes some of those). …

… Let me just end with the basic message of our book – and what everyone here knows —

Our personal stories have power.  They have power over how we define our own lives and they have power when we share them with others.  Talking with others about the positive aspects of LGBT identities, recognizing the benefits of these identities in our own lives and the life of our communities, is an important part of creating a celebratory culture for everyone in Appalachia.  A strong, visible support ally culture is a part of this celebration of all of our lives.

See our full comments on our blogpage:

Creating a Positive View

Go to to see an expanded version of a story written and published on the Rowman & Littlefield author blog on March 26, 2012:

Creating a Positive View

By Ellen D.B. Riggle, PhD

As an academic researcher, I have typically taught and wrote about things that would depress and scare ordinary people (actually, these things depress and scare me too):  depression and anxiety, psychological abuse, suicidal thoughts, drug and alcohol abuse, violent attacks, discrimination and everyday prejudice.  I discuss these topics in the context of the stresses that people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) face and have to cope with (sometimes in healthy, adaptive ways, but other times in unhealthy or risky ways).  It seems that in my academic training, I was taught to focus on negative issues.  Implicitly I was taught that if nothing is “wrong” then everything must be okay, and we don’t need to talk about that.

Focusing on “what’s wrong” is important.  For example, the current focus on the violence and psychological abuse associated with bullying is essential to providing all children and adults with a safe environment for living their lives.  We are all responsible for solving this problem so we all need to be talking about it.  But in focusing on what’s wrong, sometimes we forget to also focus on “what’s right.”

Go to to see the rest of the story…



biUK Report Cites Our Research on Positive Identity

The Bisexuality Report, about the experiences of bisexual identified people in the UK (United Kingdom), cites our research on positive bisexual self-identity.  Check out this fascinating report online, including a podcast and video interviews with the authors:

The reference for the report is:  Barker, M., Richards, C., Jones, R., Bowes-Catton, H., Plowman, T., Yockney, J. & Morgan, M. (2012). The bisexuality report: Bisexual inclusion in LGBT equality and diversity. Milton Keynes: The Open University Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance. ISBN: 978-1-78007-414-6.


Feb 22nd Book Signing

We will be having a book signing of A Positive View of LGBTQ at Morris Book Shop (882 E. High St., Lexington, KY) on Wednesday, February 22, from 6:30 to ­ 8:00 p.m. Refreshments provided by the Department of Women and Gender Studies (UK).  Come enjoy conversation with the authors and community.

Ellen Riggle (Departments of Gender and Women’s Studies and Political Science) and Sharon Rostosky (Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology), University of Kentucky, have recently published a book that focuses on the positive experiences in LGBTQ lives. The book, A Positive View of LGBTQ: Embracing Identity and Cultivating Well-Being, includes stories that people shared when asked the simple but novel question, “What is positive about having a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer identity?” The answers focus on themes such as the benefits of personal authenticity and insights, having stronger relationships with family and friends, flexibility in gender expression and roles, increased compassion for others, fighting for social justice, and a sense of community belonging. The book includes activities to inspire readers to cultivate their own positive narratives and strengths.