'THIS IS NORMAL FOR US': RESILIENCY AND RESISTANCE AMONGST LESBIAN AND GAY PARENTS by ProQuest

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Whilst growing numbers of Australian lesbians and gay men are raising children, and whilst research has overwhelmingly found positive outcomes for both parents and children in these families, such families continue to face ongoing discrimination, particularly in relation to the law. In response, recent Australian research has sought to explore both the challenges that lesbian and gay parents face, and the resiliency they display. The present paper contributes to this body of research, by reporting on interviews conducted with 14 South Australian lesbian or gay parents. Through thematic analysis, key areas of importance to these parents were identified, including motivations for becoming a parent and experiences of parenthood, experiences of marginalisation (both within the broader community and within lesbian and gay communities), and perceived strengths and benefits of lesbian- and gay-headed families. As such, this paper provides further evidence of the need for legislative change, in order to better support lesbian and gay parents and their children. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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									Gay & Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2009



‘THIS IS NORMAL FOR US’: RESILIENCY AND RESISTANCE
AMONGST LESBIAN AND GAY PARENTS
JORDAN LEE



                     Abstract                                    nity Commission, 2007; Dethloff, 2005). The
                                                                 emergence of these ‘alternative families’ in
Whilst growing numbers of Australian lesbians                    Australia reflects worldwide trends in which an
and gay men are raising children, and whilst                     increasing number of non-heterosexual people
research has overwhelmingly found positive                       are making conscious decisions to parent
outcomes for both parents and children in                        (Dethloff, 2005; Gilgoff, 2004; Robinson,
these families, such families continue to face                   1997; Tobin, 2008).
ongoing discrimination, particularly in relation
to the law. In response, recent Australian re-                   Whilst there is a considerable body of research
search has sought to explore both the chal-                      which has consistently demonstrated that chil-
lenges that lesbian and gay parents face, and                    dren raised by non-heterosexual parents fare
the resiliency they display. The present paper                   at least as well as those raised by heterosex-
contributes to this body of research, by re-                     ual parents (see Short, Riggs, Perlesz, Brown
porting on interviews conducted with 14 South                    & Kane, 2007, for a summary), less is known
Australian lesbian or gay parents. Through                       about the specific practices undertaken by non
thematic analysis, key areas of importance to                    -heterosexual parents and the ways in which
these parents were identified, including moti-                   they negotiate heteronormative social con-
vations for becoming a parent and experi-                        texts. In a 2007 paper, Short suggests that
ences of parenthood, experiences of margin-                      what is needed is a focus upon how lesbian
alisation (both within the broader community                     parents (amongst others) continue to thrive
and within lesbian and gay communities), and                     despite the negative impact of legal and social
perceived strengths and benefits of lesbian-                     discrimination, but that this must sit alongside
and gay-headed families. As such, this paper                     ongoing recognition of the need for legal and
provides further evidence of the need for leg-                   social change. Riggs, McLaren and Mayes
islative change, in order to better support les-                 (2009) make a similar point in their research
bian and gay parents and their children.                         on attitudes towards parents amongst a les-
                                                                 bian and gay community sample, in which
Keywords: lesbian & gay parents, legal ex-                       their participants rated both lesbian and gay
clusion, resiliency, parenting motivations, de/                  parents more positively than heterosexual par-
sexualisation                                                    ents. In commenting on these findings, Riggs
                                                                 and his colleagues suggest that “viewing les-
                  Introduction                                   bian and gay parents who continue to thrive in
                                                                 the context of heterosexism and homophobia
                                                                 as enacting positive forms of parenting in
Statistics show that an increasing number of
                                                                 comparison to heterosexual parents is not the
Australian lesbians and gay men are raising
                                                                 product of exaggeration, but rather one of
children (Australian Bureau of Statistics,
                                                                 celebration and recognition” (p. 60).
2005), including those born through Assisted
Reproductive Technology; in previous hetero-
sexual relationships; through surrogacy, foster                  Reporting research conducted in South Austra-
care or adoption; or in shared parenting ar-                     lia in 2008, this paper takes up the lead set by
rangements (Human Rights & Equal Opportu-                        the authors cited above by further exploring

ISSN 1833-4512 © 2009 Author/Gay & Lesbian Issues & Psychology Interest Grou
								
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