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Women in Lesbian Relations: Construing Equal or Unequal Parental Roles?
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2015 (English)In: Psychology of women quarterly, ISSN 0361-6843, E-ISSN 1471-6402, Vol. 39, no 2, 256-267 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When a lesbian couple conceives through donor insemination, the partners transform their relations to each other. In this article, I explore how women in lesbian relations depict their parental roles in relation to the notion of equality. Drawing on critical discursive psychology, I conducted and analyzed interviews with 96 Swedish lesbian parents. Findings show how the interviewees draw on three different interpretative repertoires when they talk about their parental roles. In one repertoire, parents describe themselves as being spontaneously equal in relation to the child. In a second repertoire, equality is depicted as a potential result of struggling, where some parents claim to have achieved equality, whereas others describe being frustrated about their unequal situation. Finally, in a third repertoire, inequality is depicted as a given starting point, drawing on a biologistic rhetoric. Although most parents present equality as idealized, most also refer to biology as a reality that sets the benchmark. Findings in the present study could be useful for clinicians working with lesbian couples; rather than assuming that a lesbian couple is more or less equal, it is important to consider the specific couple and their descriptions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2015. Vol. 39, no 2, 256-267 p.
Keyword [en]
Parental role, mothers, relationship quality, lesbianism, homosexual parents, birth mother, equality, discursive psychology
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117930DOI: 10.1177/0361684314537225ISI: 000354570500009OAI: diva2:812250
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2015-06-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Pride and Prejudice: Lesbian Families in Contemporary Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pride and Prejudice: Lesbian Families in Contemporary Sweden
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Stolthet och fördom : Lesbiska familjer i dagens Sverige
Abstract [en]

Options and possibilities for lesbian parents have changed fundamentally since the turn of the millennium. A legal change in 2003 enabled a same-sex couple  to share legal parenthood of the same child. An additional legal change, in 2005, gave lesbian couples access to fertility treatment within public healthcare in Sweden. The present thesis focuses on families where two women share legal parenthood of their children. It aims to provide knowledge about lesbian parenting couples and their children, and to focus on the interplay between family members within lesbian families, and between family members and their surroundings. Furthermore, the thesis aims to visualize and analyse notions of heteronormativity and homonormativity in contemporary Sweden. The thesis draws on interviews with 118 parents in 61 families, and 12 children in 11 families. The participants’ stories, descriptions, reflections and discourses have been analysed using discursive psychology and thematic analysis.

The thesis includes five empirical papers. Paper I focuses on encounters with healthcare professionals prior to and during pregnancy, at childbirth and during the early stages of parenthood. Paper II deals with the participants’ experiences of second-parent adoption processes. Paper III focuses on equality in parenting relations. Paper IV focuses on encounters with fertility clinics within public healthcare. Paper V highlights the children’s reflections and shows how the children talk about fathers and donors.

Abstract [sv]

För lesbiska par har förutsättningarna för föräldraskap förändrats i grunden sedan millennieskiftet. År 2003 möjliggjorde en lagändring att ett barn kan ha två rättsliga föräldrar av samma kön. Ytterligare en lagändring öppnade år 2005 möjligheten för lesbiska par att få barn genom assisterad befruktning inom svensk sjukvård. I avhandlingen fokuseras familjer där två kvinnor delar det rättsliga föräldraskapet om sina gemensamma barn. Studien syftar till att bredda kunskaper om lesbiska familjeliv och fokuserar samspelet mellan familjemedlemmar såväl som samspelet mellan familjen och dess omgivning. Vidare syftar studien till att synliggöra och analysera uttryck för heteronormativitet och homonormativitet i dagens Sverige. Studien bygger på intervjuer med 118 föräldrar i 61 familjer och 12 barn i 11 familjer. Deltagarnas berättelser, beskrivningar, reflektioner och diskurser analyseras med diskursiv psykologi och tematisk analys.

Avhandlingen består av fem empiriska artiklar och en kappa. I Artikel I analyseras föräldrarnas berättelser om att möta sjukvården i samband med graviditet och förlossning. Artikel II belyser deltagarnas berättelser om att genomgå en närståendeadoption. I Artikel III fokuseras hur föräldrarna pratar om jämställdhet i sina föräldraroller. Artikel IV analyserar intervjuer med föräldrar som vänt sig till svensk sjukvård för fertilitetsbehandling. I Artikel V, är det barnen som står i fokus. Studien bygger på intervjuer med tolv barn som var mellan 5 och 8 år gamla och växte upp i familjer med två mammor. I artikeln analyseras barnens beskrivningar av pappor och spermadonatorer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 106 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 642Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 191
Lesbian family, same-sex parents, heteronormativity, homonormativity, fertility treatment, maternity care, healthcare, second-parent adoption, equality, donor, discursive psychology, thematic analysis, Lesbisk familj, samkönade föräldrar, regnbågsfamilj, heteronormativitet, homonormativitet, bemötande, mödravård, fertilitetsbehandling, närståendeadoption, jämställdhet, donator, regnbågsbarn, diskursiv psykologi, tematisk analys
National Category
Psychology Sociology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117933 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-117933 (DOI)978-91-7519-087-7 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-05-29, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Swedish Research Council, 2008-0449
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Malmquist, Anna
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