Diana Breshears of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and Dawn O. Braithwaite, Willa Cather Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies have won the National Communication Association’s GLBTQ Communication Studies division Monograph of the Year award for 2015. Their article, "Discursive Struggles Animating Individuals' Talk About Their Parents' Coming Out as Lesbian and Gay," was published in the Journal of Family Communication in 2014. Diana Breshears earned her PhD in 2011 from the Department of Communication Studies at UNL.
Two quotes from the nominating letters underline the significance of this research:
"I remember the exact day I picked up Garner’s (2005) book Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Telling It Like It Is and read it through in one sitting. As a lesbian parent and communication scholar I found her book to be groundbreaking. She opened up a world so few had ever documented and told the story through the eyes of the children. What particularly struck me was her discussion of how these children negotiate their parent’s sexual identity and allowed me to better understand the family dynamics my two children would face all their lives. Ten years later we have Breshears and Braithwaite’s research and discover, still, how little we know about the discursive worlds of children raised by gay and lesbian parents. This research stands alongside Garner’s as one of the few to position itself from the children’s perspective; more to the point it examines not only how these children negotiate their parents’ sexual orientation but also the dynamic of their parents’ coming out and how it impacts their own personal and familial identity work."
"Breshears and Braithwaite (2014) help redress the limited…understandings to date of gay- and lesbian-parented families in family communication. In doing so, the piece shifts the conversation about coming out away from the individual, focusing instead on how parental coming out impacts the whole family system, with a decided focus on the children in the family. When focusing on the children’s perspectives, the piece moves away from collecting children’s perspectives by asking parents to report on their children and instead asks the children directly to detail their lived experiences."
Congrats to Dr. Breshears and Dr. Braithwaite (pictured below at Dr. Breshears' doctoral hooding!)