From Here to Maternity: A Review of the Research on Lesbian and Gay Families


ABSTRACT This paper provides an overview of the international psychological and social science research on lesbian and gay parenting and family forms. It asks how this research should be used to inform social and legal policy on same-sex partnership and family recognition, with particular reference to Australian law.

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    ABSTRACT: While families headed by same-sex couples have achieved greater public visibility in recent years, there are still many challenges for these families in dealing with legal and community contexts that are not supportive of same-sex relationships. The Work, Love, Play study is a large longitudinal study of same-sex parents. It aims to investigate many facets of family life among this sample and examine how they change over time. The study focuses specifically on two key areas missing from the current literature: factors supporting resilience in same-sex parented families; and health and wellbeing outcomes for same-sex couples who undergo separation, including the negotiation of shared parenting arrangements post-separation. The current paper aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the design and methods of this longitudinal study and discuss its significance. The Work, Love, Play study is a mixed design, three wave, longitudinal cohort study of same-sex attracted parents. The sample includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents in Australia and New Zealand (including single parents within these categories) caring for any children under the age of 18 years. The study will be conducted over six years from 2008 to 2014. Quantitative data are to be collected via three on-line surveys in 2008, 2010 and 2012 from the cohort of parents recruited in Wave1. Qualitative data will be collected via interviews with purposively selected subsamples in 2012 and 2013. Data collection began in 2008 and 355 respondents to Wave One of the study have agreed to participate in future surveys. Work is currently underway to increase this sample size. The methods and survey instruments are described. This study will make an important contribution to the existing research on same-sex parented families. Strengths of the study design include the longitudinal method, which will allow understanding of changes over time within internal family relationships and social supports. Further, the mixed method design enables triangulation of qualitative and quantitative data. A broad recruitment strategy has already enabled a large sample size with the inclusion of both gay men and lesbians.
    BMC Public Health 03/2010; 10:115. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The literature on lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) affirmative psychotherapy suggests that heterosexist and homophobic discourses persist in the accounts of counsellors and therapists (Milton, Coyle & Legg, 2005) and that these may particularly cohere around the issue of same-sex parenting (Moon, 1994; Phillips, et al., 2000). The current research demonstrates that this was the case in focus group discussions with counsellors working for a UK relationship therapy organisation. Many participants drew on discourses of same-sex parenting as ‘risky’, reproducing arguments about the ‘danger’ of potential prejudice that such children may face and the ‘necessity’ of differently gendered role models (Clarke & Kitzinger, 2005). However, these were sometimes challenged within the discussions, particularly with the offering of an alternative discourse of children of same-sex parents experiencing ‘double the love’. The potential of such discussions to resist heterosexist discourses is considered as a possible direction for counsellors’ on-going professional development training.
    Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review. 01/2007;
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationships between gender role attitudes, household tasks, and the perception of equity among heterosexual, gay and lesbian couples. One hundred and twenty-four participants (54 heterosexuals, 30 gay men and 40 lesbians) were tested. It was found that same-sex couples had more liberal attitudes toward gender roles than did heterosexual couples. In addition, significant differences were found between the spouses in their responses regarding role division in housekeeping in each group. The responses of heterosexual spouses correlate more closely with each other regarding the role of each of the spouses than was the case for same-sex couples. However, the role division among lesbian couples was more egalitarian than that of heterosexual couples. In addition, heterosexual women consider their married life less equitable than heterosexual men do. Similarly, one of the gay spouses considers the relationship less equitable than the other spouse does. The results are discussed in terms of their relevance to theories of social perception and cultural backgrounds.
    Sex Roles 04/2007; 56(9-10):629-638. · 1.47 Impact Factor