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Pride and Prejudice: Lesbian Families in Contemporary Sweden
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Stolthet och fördom : Lesbiska familjer i dagens Sverige (Swedish)
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.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 642Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 191
Keyword [en]
Lesbian family, same-sex parents, heteronormativity, homonormativity, fertility treatment, maternity care, healthcare, second-parent adoption, equality, donor, discursive psychology, thematic analysis
Keyword [sv]
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
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117933DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-117933ISBN: 978-91-7519-087-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-117933DiVA: diva2:812264
Public defence
2015-05-29, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2008-0449
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Efforts to maintain a ’just great’ story: Lesbian parents’ talk about encounters with professionals in fertility clinics and maternal and child healthcare services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Efforts to maintain a ’just great’ story: Lesbian parents’ talk about encounters with professionals in fertility clinics and maternal and child healthcare services
2014 (English)In: Feminism and Psychology, ISSN 0959-3535, E-ISSN 1461-7161, Vol. 24, no 1, 56-73 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

After lesbian couples have decided to become parents, their family-making journeyentails a wide range of encounters with professionals in fertility clinics and/or in maternaland child healthcare services. The article presents the results of an analysis of 96lesbian mothers’ interview talk about such encounters. In their stories and accounts,the interviewees draw on two separate and contradictory interpretative repertoires,the ‘just great’ repertoire and the ‘heteronormative issues’ repertoire. Throughout theinterviews, the ‘just great’ repertoire strongly predominates, while the ‘heteronormativeissues’ repertoire is rhetorically minimized. The recurrent accounts of health servicesas ‘just great’, and the mitigation of problems, are meaningful in relation to abroader discursive context. In a society where different-sex parents are the norm,the credibility of other kinds of parenthood is at stake. The ‘just great’ repertoire hasa normalizing function for lesbian mothers, while the ‘heteronormative issues’ repertoireresists normative demands for adaptation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2014
Keyword
Lesbian parent, maternal healthcare, child healthcare, heteronormativity, discursive psychology, interpretative repertoire
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-104689 (URN)10.1177/0959353513487532 (DOI)000330772500004 ()
Available from: 2014-02-23 Created: 2014-02-23 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. A Crucial but Strenuous Process: Female Same-Sex Couples’ Reflections on Second-Parent Adoption
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Crucial but Strenuous Process: Female Same-Sex Couples’ Reflections on Second-Parent Adoption
2015 (English)In: Journal of GLBT Family Studies, ISSN 1550-428X, E-ISSN 1550-4298, 1-24 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When a female same-sex couple has a child together through assisted reproduction, it is important that both partners be granted status as the child's legal parents. Second-parent adoption, where the non-birth mother adopts the child, is currently an option in several Western nations. The article presents findings from interviews with 96 Swedish mothers, all of whom have gone through second-parent adoptions in same-sex relations. The interviewees describe the adoption as crucial for their family. If the parents divorce or if one of them dies, it is deemed important to have legal parenthood established. A second-parent adoption process in Sweden can take several months to finish. In several interviews, the social workers assessing the family for the adoption are depicted as unprofessional and as asking irrelevant or intrusive questions. Others depict social workers as kind and competent. Other methods of granting legal parenthood to non-birth mothers are suggested for Swedish legislation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2015
Keyword
Heteronormativity, legal parenthood, lesbian mother, non-birth mother, second-parent adoption, social worker
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117929 (URN)10.1080/1550428X.2015.1019169 (DOI)
Conference
2015/05/18
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
3. Women in Lesbian Relations: Construing Equal or Unequal Parental Roles?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Women in Lesbian Relations: Construing Equal or Unequal Parental Roles?
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
Keyword
Parental role, mothers, relationship quality, lesbianism, homosexual parents, birth mother, equality, discursive psychology
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117930 (URN)10.1177/0361684314537225 (DOI)000354570500009 ()
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
4. Vulnerability and Acceptance: Lesbian Women's Family-Making through Assisted Reproduction in Swedish Public Health Care
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Vulnerability and Acceptance: Lesbian Women's Family-Making through Assisted Reproduction in Swedish Public Health Care
2014 (English)In: Journal of GLBT Family Studies, ISSN 1550-428X, E-ISSN 1550-4298, Vol. 11, no 2, 127-150 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Female same-sex couples in Sweden have had access to fertility treatment within public health care since 2005. Treatment is generally tax funded, with a minimal of personal expenses. After birth, both mothers gain legal status as the child's parents. This article draws on findings from interviews with 29 lesbian mothers, all of whom have sought treatment at fertility clinics within the Swedish public health care system. Parts of the interviews in which the mothers describe deficiencies in the provided treatment have been scrutinized in detail. Results show how heteronormative assumptions about the family and a feeling of exposure in the role of patient give rise to vulnerability in lesbian mothers. Furthermore, neither routines nor the offered treatment are adapted to lesbian women's specific needs. Regarding dealing with deficiencies, the interviews are filled with expressions of acceptance, which rhetorically minimize the impact of potential stressors. A main conclusion is that legal inclusion of lesbians in fertility treatment is of groundbreaking importance to lesbians with a desire to become parents. The next step is to address heteronormativity within the health care institutions in order to develop treatment adapted to lesbian couples? specific needs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2014
Keyword
Lesbian mother, assisted reproduction, fertility treatment, public health care, heteronormativity
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117932 (URN)10.1080/1550428X.2014.891088 (DOI)
Conference
2015/05/18
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
5. ‘A daddy is the same as a mummy’: Swedish children in lesbian households talk about fathers and donors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>‘A daddy is the same as a mummy’: Swedish children in lesbian households talk about fathers and donors
2014 (English)In: Childhood, ISSN 0907-5682, E-ISSN 1461-7013, Vol. 21, no 1, 119-133 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present article discusses how 12 children (five to eight years) in planned lesbian familiestalk about families, parents and specifically ‘daddies’ as such and not having a father themselves.Findings from child interviews demonstrate that the children described daddies as ‘the same’ asmummies, i.e. as having the same functions. This contrasts with previous research showing howchildren of heterosexuals often describe mothers and fathers as different. The children varied interms of how they labelled donors. Some children adopted the denomination ‘daddy’, drawing ona paternity discourse, while others simply referred to him as ‘a man’.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2014
Keyword
Child interviews, conception, father, lesbian family, sperm donor
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-104728 (URN)10.1177/0907568213484342 (DOI)000337970300009 ()
Available from: 2014-02-24 Created: 2014-02-24 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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