Paolo Gusmeroli, Luca Trappolin

Family practices of Italian lesbian and gay parents with children from heterosexual relationships Identity transition and pragmatic bricolage

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: family practices, same-sex families, coming out, parenthood, lesbian and gay stepfamilies

This paper draws on the concept of family practices to investigate how post-heterosexual lesbian and gay parents (PHLGPs) make sense of their family life. We conducted a mixed methods study based on 63 online questionnaires (answered by 31 women and 32 men) and 22 online interviews (with 13 women and 9 men) collected between 2019 and 2020 with members or supporters of the Italian organization Rete Genitori Rainbow (rgr). The survey was used to describe the PHLGPs population and their various family arrangements from a gendered perspective. Our qualitative interviews focused on three individual and family transitions: coming out, deciding «who counts as family», and deciding «who counts as parent». Our findings show that the fluidity of respondents’ family practices is linked to their interplay of sexual identity, parental status, and embeddedness in the heteronormative kinship system. Disentangling the dimensions of intimacy generally regarded as lying at the core of the family ideology – such as loving and caring – also brings out a blurring of the boundaries between heterosexual and homosexual primary networks

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