Children's Television and its Effects on LGBTQ Youths’ Identity Milestones, Acceptance, and Comfort in Identity


  • Ingrid Schaefer Leonardtown High School



LGBTQ, Childrens TV, television, Child Development, child psychology, LGBTQ Youth, Gender Identity, identity formation, adolescents & young adults, Traditional Media


Television has the power to influence and change a viewer's beliefs through the content and characters of a show. This study investigates to what extent the television LGBTQ young adults watched as a child affects their sexuality and gender identity development later on in life. My hypotheses were that watching representative television as a child would increase self-acceptance, lower the age of identity milestones, create positive views on the content of children's television, and increase comfort in identity. This study utilizes a mixed-methods survey for LGBTQ individuals ages 18-21 residing in the US. Using comparisons of means, Spearmans correlational analysis, and analyzing themes, I found no evidence to solidly confirm or deny my hypotheses. Quantitative data does not point towards a relationship between LGBTQ identity development and childhood television, while qualitative results do show that those who watched directly representative television as a child felt more positively about their identity development.


Download data is not yet available.

References or Bibliography

Boston Children's Hospital. (2021, March 17). Brain development. The Digital Wellness Lab. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from

Cambridge Dctionary. (n.d.). Fandom. In Cambridge Dictionary.

Gomillion, S. C., & Giuliano, T. A. (2011). The influence of media role models on gay, lesbian, and bisexual identity. Journal of Homosexuality, 58(3), 330–354.

İvrendi, A., & Özdemir, A. A. (2010). Mothers’ evaluation of cartoons’ influence on early childhood children. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2), 2561–2566.

Klein, H., Shiffman, K. (2009). Underrepresentation and Symbolic Annihilation of Socially Disenfranchised Groups (''Out Groups'') in Animated Cartoons. Howard Journal of Communications. 20. 55-72. 10.1080/10646170802665208.

Levinson, J. (2020, March 5). Why diversity in children's media is so important. Psychology in Action.

Mares, M.-L., & Woodard, E. (2005). Positive effects of television on children's Social Interactions: A meta-analysis. Media Psychology, 7(3), 301–322.

McInroy, L. B., Craig, S. L.(2018). Online fandom, identity milestones, and self-identification of sexual/gender minority youth. Journal of LGBT Youth, 15(3).

McInroy, L. B., & Craig, S. L. (2016). Perspectives of LGBTQ emerging adults on the depiction and impact of LGBTQ media representation. Journal of Youth Studies, 20(1), 32–46.

MedlinePlus. (2021). Screen Time and children: MedlinePlus medical encyclopedia. MedlinePlus. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from,child%20to%20sleep%20at%20night

Meyer, M.D.E., Wood, M.M. Sexuality and Teen Television: Emerging Adults Respond to Representations of Queer Identity on Glee. Sexuality & Culture 17, 434–448 (2013).

Persegani, C., Russo, P., Carucci, C., Nicolini, M., Papeschi, L. L., & Trimarchi, M. (2002). Television viewing and personality structure in children. Personality and Individual Differences, 32(6), 977–990.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018, September). Television, capturing America's attention at prime time and beyond : Beyond the numbers. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from

Żerebecki, B. G., Opree, S. J., Hofhuis, J., & Janssen, S. (2021). Can TV shows promote

acceptance of sexual and ethnic minorities? A literature review of television effects on diversity attitudes. Sociology Compass, 15(8), e12906.



How to Cite

Schaefer, I. (2023). Children’s Television and its Effects on LGBTQ Youths’ Identity Milestones, Acceptance, and Comfort in Identity . Journal of Student Research, 12(4).



AP Capstone™ Research