9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN23 Sexuality

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Sexuality, the Family and Intimate Life Building I, 1E8

Re/searching lesbian families in the Czech Republic

Based on a qualitative research the paper explores the phenomenon of lesbian families in the Czech Republic. First I focus on the often contradictory conceptualizations of lesbian and gay families in social sciences and argue for critical interpretative approach. The concepts and research developed and conducted primarily in the Anglo-Saxon countries was continuously confronted with my ethnographic field research of 16 lesbian couples who parent or plan to parent.
On general level I was concerned with how women living in lesbian families negotiate the notion of family, parenthood, kinship, community and gender. Contrary to the prevailing research findings I argue that their social practice can be interpreted as distinctly gendered. Further I explored how lesbians living in families meet and confront two stereotypes: the stereotype of the lesbian and the stereotype of the so called normal family. The everyday presentation of lesbian families is described as a constant interplay between distancing themselves from the stigmatizing stereotypes attached to homosexuality and uncommonness of the so called homosexual family on one hand and affirming their commonness on the other hand.