Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 153–172

Constructing Gay and Lesbian Parent Families “Beyond the Closet”


DOI: 10.1007/s11133-009-9124-6

Cite this article as:
Ryan, M. & Berkowitz, D. Qual Sociol (2009) 32: 153. doi:10.1007/s11133-009-9124-6


This paper provides a multilayered analysis of how lesbian mothers and gay fathers construct their families in a social context that has been described by Steven Seidman (2004) as “beyond the closet.” We stress how our participants’ family-building experiences are comparable to other non-biologically related families, but distinct due to heterosexual dominance. Using in-depth qualitative interviews with 18 lesbian birth mothers and 22 gay fathers, the authors discuss how participants navigate heterosexual dominance in institutions and in personal interactions.


Gay Lesbian Family Heterosexism Homophobia 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology, 126 Stubbs HallLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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