Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy - "Lesbian parenting: insiders' voices" by Ruth McNair, Amaryll Perlesz

Lesbian parenting has entered the public arena over recent years via debates regarding access to fertility services and adoption, legal recognition of same-sex parents and children's rights (McNair, 2002). Research in the area has been published for over 20 years, with an increasing shift towards delineating diversity rather than proving the legitimacy of these families. The ANZJFT - the major mouthpiece for Australian family therapists - has made curiously little contribution to the literature on lesbian parenting. The lack of discussion leaves trainees and family therapists largely ignorant about the lived experience of lesbian family life. This paper goes some way to filling this gap. We present data gathered from 151 Australian lesbian parents who answered questions about their own and their families' perceived strengths. Despite the constraints and challenges of living within a heteronormative and homophobic society and dealing with discrimination and legal, political and social non-legitimation, this group of lesbian parents expressed great pride in raising welladjusted and happy children. They also described their families as thoughtfully planned, proud, accepting and celebratory of diversity and difference, flexible in gender roles, and as having interesting, supportive, extended kinship networks that included a wide range of positive role models for their children. (Journal abstract)

[Source: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v.25 no.3 Sept 2004: 129-140]

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