Lesbian M/Otherhood: strategies of familial-linguistic management in lesbian parent families

Gabb, Jacqui (2005). Lesbian M/Otherhood: strategies of familial-linguistic management in lesbian parent families. Sociology, 39(4) pp. 585–603.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038505056025

URL: http://soc.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/39/4/5...

Abstract

In this article I examine how parental identities are negotiated in lesbian parent families. I argue that lesbian mothers’ extraordinary maternity is not dependent on a feminist egalitarian ethic but instead comes from families’ strategic articulation of same-sex parenthood, whereby gender is done and undone in multiple and contradictory ways. Focusing attention onto the ‘other (non-biological) mother’, I suggest that her lack of social status and (progenitor) maternal role disrupts simple readings of gendered parenthood. I demonstrate that children’s creative familial-linguistic management of ‘family’ facilitates an inclusive conceptual framework, representing families as process. The data cited in this article comes from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 18 lesbian mothers and 13 of their children, who live across the Yorkshire region in the UK.

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