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Narrating kinship and connection: the life stories of adult-children raised by LBTQ parents

Narrating kinship and connection: the life stories of adult-children raised by LBTQ parents
Narrating kinship and connection: the life stories of adult-children raised by LBTQ parents
Despite the increasing literature on LGBTQ families, there continues to be limited research on the children within these families. The social, legal and political context for LGBTQ people has transformed drastically over the twentieth and twenty-first century. However, we know little about how these changes will have shaped the life courses of people raised by LGBTQ parents.
The data within this thesis comes from 20 biographical interviews with adult-children raised by lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer (LBTQ) parents in England and Scotland. This thesis explores how people with LBTQ parents narrate their life stories, particularly addressing the intersections of family, identity, social norms and historical context. I use a combination of life course and queer theory to discuss the complex and messy everyday spatialities and relationalities found in participant life stories. The study examines the interplay between notions of normative families, genders and sexualities, and alternative everyday practices in families with LBTQ parents. This analysis is combined with a geographical and temporal lens, discussing how family practices, emotions and relationships can shift through time and space.
I firstly discuss this in relation to genetic normativity, noting that although people with LBTQ parents often live in families that seem to resist dominant notions of biological relatedness, genetic discourses remain significant to those raised by LBTQ parents. This suggests that children raised in LBTQ households must navigate between the non-traditional aspects of their families and ongoing normative genetic discourses. Secondly, I examine queer origin stories, highlighting the ways that adult-children with LBTQ parents emphasise the importance of knowing their queer family histories, rather than only their genetic relations. This demonstrates the ways that adult-children can re-create, re-shape and re-tell their queer origin stories in adulthood. Third, I look into how participants narrated their experiences within the various spaces they moved between. I focus on the idea of ‘coming out’ or disclosure, to discuss how the power within specific contexts prompt different practices, displays, and feelings from people with LBTQ parents. Finally, I explore how participants related to ideas of normality and normativity more broadly, noting adult-children’s pursuit of intelligibility and legitimacy; how adult-children engage in quiet forms of everyday activism; and complicate traditional notions of the idealised life course.
These findings contribute to the geographies of family and intimacy and sociological understandings of LGBTQ and queer kinship, adding to the limited body of work on children raised by non-heterosexual or gender confirming parents.
University of Southampton
Garwood, Eliza Gwendoline
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Garwood, Eliza Gwendoline
1464288a-758c-4ce9-ba44-40c7b048a654
Wilkinson, Eleanor
b4e83f65-1c06-4c86-b70c-4cd307d2738a
Power, Andrew
b3a1ee09-e381-413a-88ac-7cb3e13b3acc
Lewis, Nathaniel M
f0218afb-51ea-4141-a1e9-d031d8b98645

Garwood, Eliza Gwendoline (2020) Narrating kinship and connection: the life stories of adult-children raised by LBTQ parents. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 220pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Despite the increasing literature on LGBTQ families, there continues to be limited research on the children within these families. The social, legal and political context for LGBTQ people has transformed drastically over the twentieth and twenty-first century. However, we know little about how these changes will have shaped the life courses of people raised by LGBTQ parents.
The data within this thesis comes from 20 biographical interviews with adult-children raised by lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer (LBTQ) parents in England and Scotland. This thesis explores how people with LBTQ parents narrate their life stories, particularly addressing the intersections of family, identity, social norms and historical context. I use a combination of life course and queer theory to discuss the complex and messy everyday spatialities and relationalities found in participant life stories. The study examines the interplay between notions of normative families, genders and sexualities, and alternative everyday practices in families with LBTQ parents. This analysis is combined with a geographical and temporal lens, discussing how family practices, emotions and relationships can shift through time and space.
I firstly discuss this in relation to genetic normativity, noting that although people with LBTQ parents often live in families that seem to resist dominant notions of biological relatedness, genetic discourses remain significant to those raised by LBTQ parents. This suggests that children raised in LBTQ households must navigate between the non-traditional aspects of their families and ongoing normative genetic discourses. Secondly, I examine queer origin stories, highlighting the ways that adult-children with LBTQ parents emphasise the importance of knowing their queer family histories, rather than only their genetic relations. This demonstrates the ways that adult-children can re-create, re-shape and re-tell their queer origin stories in adulthood. Third, I look into how participants narrated their experiences within the various spaces they moved between. I focus on the idea of ‘coming out’ or disclosure, to discuss how the power within specific contexts prompt different practices, displays, and feelings from people with LBTQ parents. Finally, I explore how participants related to ideas of normality and normativity more broadly, noting adult-children’s pursuit of intelligibility and legitimacy; how adult-children engage in quiet forms of everyday activism; and complicate traditional notions of the idealised life course.
These findings contribute to the geographies of family and intimacy and sociological understandings of LGBTQ and queer kinship, adding to the limited body of work on children raised by non-heterosexual or gender confirming parents.

Text
Narrating Kinship and Connection: The Life Stories of Adult-Children Raised by LBTQ Parents
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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More information

Published date: January 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 451329
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/451329
PURE UUID: cd38e7bc-3418-41a8-8bab-a9142762277b
ORCID for Andrew Power: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3887-1050

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 Sep 2021 16:30
Last modified: 22 Sep 2021 01:42

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Contributors

Author: Eliza Gwendoline Garwood
Thesis advisor: Eleanor Wilkinson
Thesis advisor: Andrew Power ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Nathaniel M Lewis

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