Lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and queer (LGBQ) individuals face well-known difficulties, ranging from slurs to legal exclusion and homophobic hate crimes. However, LGBQ individuals and communities often thrive. Thriving under adverse conditions is understood by psychology through the lens of resilience, i.e., one’s ability to ‘bounce back’ after being faced with hardship. In this paper, we perform a thematic meta-synthesis of narrative studies on LGBQ resilience. Specifically, we have retrieved and performed thematic meta-analysis on 21 studies published over the last 20 years. The examination of this literature highlights the relational nature of resilience in extant research on this population. More precisely, we show that the same entities, such as family and peers, are often sources of resilience and hardship at the same time; that many LGBQ people experience hardship early in their lives, and thus cannot ‘bounce back’ to a previous positive state; and that extant psychological understandings of resilience are too individualistic for a field that needs to focus more on communities and relationships. We argue for the need to consider relational and community creativity, innovation and growth in understanding LGBQ resilience and not just the capacity of an individual to sustain themselves in the face of adversity.
- Qualitative review
- Thematic meta-synthesis