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lesbian mothers,family hierarchy,qualified family,doing parenting,sex/gender education,alternative family,same-sex marriage,heteronormativity,
|Publication Year :||2013|
This study examines several concerns faced by lesbian families with children: how these families negotiate the boundary of a “qualified family” within the mainstream heterosexual system; how the force of heteronormativity shapes the daily practices of lesbian families with children in various aspects; what strategies are used to reinforce their family identification while negotiating with the system. In view of the systematic discrimination against non-heterosexual families, the study also discusses demands for institutional protection for lesbian families with children, as well as reflects on different schemes for legalizing same-sex marriage in the contemporary gay rights movement in Taiwan. The study shows that the family of origin under patriarchy still strongly intervenes how a lesbian couple “do” their own family. In particular, blood ties and family names are two major mechanisms through which patriarchy influences a lesbian couple’s childbearing and rearing process. In fact, the heterosexual family of origin intends to integrate lesbian family into its pedigree by making a connection through blood and family name; on the other hand, the lesbian couple may also take advantage of resources from their family (families) of origin by strategizing the use of blood ties and family names. Further, the relationship between a lesbian couple and their child are established on and strengthened by both appellation and parenting. Because the co-parent and the child are not of the same blood, parenting is the key to maintaining their family relationship. In addition, the family prototype in the heterosexual system, namely the “qualified family”, may constantly remind lesbian families of their marginal status in the social structure. To combat the stigma of gay parenting, lesbian families may use two related strategies: being a better/model parent and disciplining their children according to social norms. These strategies may expand the definition of the “qualified family” by including those lesbian families that achieve model parenting; however, the strategies may simultaneously raise the standard of the “qualified family”, leaving more families “unqualified”. Finally, the study suggests improving the current education and marriage systems. Specifically, the government should enforce the sex/gender equality curriculum to eliminate peer discrimination against students from non-heterosexual families. Also, educators should receive training to treat families with diverse sexuality/gender backgrounds equally and to enhance the learning experience of students from non-heterosexual families. This is particularly important for children from non-heterosexual families with low socio-economic status because these families often lack adequate resources to select a more LGBTQ-friendly school, or to invest in their children’s academic learning for promising performance which may be traded for equal treatment. Moreover, the current marriage system only entails rights and responsibilities for families based on couple relationship. Since lesbian families have various types, including alternative families, this study suggests that the legal definition of and protection for family should not only be limited to couple-based families.
|Appears in Collections:||社會學系|
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