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Sociology of Sexuality - Lesbian Mothers

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Introduction

Sociology of Sexuality Lesbian Mothers This project will discuss the topic of gay and lesbian parents. The main objective of this paper is to demonstrate that developments and progress throughout the 20th century have allowed for a significant increase in same sex couples choosing to raise children. However despite this increase there still remains a significant amount of controversy surrounding the issue. This paper will detail many cultural shifts that have occurred which have allowed for homosexuality to become more socially acceptable. However, it will also be shown that despite this acceptance, there still remains a negative culture towards homosexuality and indeed lesbian and gay parenting. In past research the main focus has frequently veered towards male homosexuality and neglected lesbian behaviour. Consequently this project will concentrate primarily on lesbianism and lesbian mothers. In doing so it essential to discuss the historical and cultural factors which have affected the construction of female homosexuality in society. Only in recent years has the study of lesbianism come to the fore in academic research. Historically studies have inevitable tended to focus on the cultural construction of male homosexuality. Consequently many of the theories were adapted from this research and adjusted for examining female homosexual behaviour. Thus are frequently viewed as inadequate and unreliable as they were founded by assuming that the existing male homosexual models were somehow suitable for analysing lesbianism. (Suggs, 1993; Ettorre, 1980) It is an inappropriate assumption that female homosexuality can be viewed as a 'mirror-image' of male homosexuality. Distinct gender divisions exist across all cultures regardless of individual sexual orientation; therefore it is essential to make theoretical distinctions between the sexes when researching. ...read more.

Middle

Sponsors of the vote argued that they feared the judicial amendment in Massachusetts " could spread throughout the nation and undermine traditional marriage " (Naples, 2004 p679). In 1996 President Bill Clinton passed the Defence of Marriage Act. However, right wing politicians argue that this is not adequate for preventing the possibility of same-sex marriage and thus does not protect the traditional institution of marriage. Furthermore at the beginning of 2004 President George W. Bush called for a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. He argues that such marriages would affect " the welfare of children and the stability of society "(Naples, 2004 p.679). After the subsequent refusal of the amendment Bush vowed that he would continue to fight against same-sex marriage (Naples, 2004). Although many lesbian and gay groups argue that same-sex marriage should become a legitimate union, there are also many who are opposed to idea. In line with Foucault's "reverse discourse" they argue that achieving this 'normalizing' objective would undoubtedly result in "assimilation into a heterosexist regime, undermine radical queer organisations and further marginalize those who did not fit into a monogamous dyad"(Naples, 2004, p. 680). Moreover, legal alterations do not necessarily equate to a transformation in the social and cultural world. The acceptance of lesbian and gay parenting will inevitable entail long-term efforts, in continuing to challenge the enduring domination of 'heteronormativity' and the cultural advantages of heterosexuality in society. However, there still remains a growing consciousness amongst homosexuals that same-sex marriage campaigns may be driving them further into the social periphery (Naples, 2004). ...read more.

Conclusion

In addition it was found that the majority of the children had not suffered from any form of homophobic bullying. Despite the fact that many of them had revealed their family set-up to their peers. (BBC, 2004) Moreover, a number of research studies carried out in Britain have discovered similar results. The findings in these studies show no significant developmental differences between children brought up in lesbian-led families and children from heterosexual families. However, many more longitudinal studies still remain in their infantile stages (Dunne, 2000). Undoubtedly as lesbian and gay parenting is a relatively new phenomenon far more research is needed before any clear-cut conclusions can be made. It is likely that historically lesbian and gay parents have always existed albeit that the parents may have chosen not to reveal their true sexual identity to their children or indeed their partners. A famous example of this is the marriage of a British aristocratic couple Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson. The couple maintained a long-term marital status and raised children together. Despite the fact that both parents were engaging in homosexual relationships outside of the marriage (Tasker, 1999). In conclusion, the upsurge in lesbian parenting would appear to suggest that it is a result of changing cultural patterns in society. Therefore indicating that lesbian parenting is a phenomenon, which is the product of social construction. However, homosexuality in general according to essentialists has always existed. Although it is far more socially accepted than it was in previous years. Moreover social alterations through time have now allowed for the broadening of the definition of the family institution. Despite the many social advancements the issue of lesbian-led families still remains an extremely controversial one. ...read more.

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