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Exploring Early Years: Childhood and Adolescence of Young Gay and Lesbian Persons

  • Ketki Ranade
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, I explore subjective meanings, experiences of getting to know one’s sexuality, making sense of the same, negotiations within and with the world around (read heterosexual and gender binary) through childhood and teenage years. The chapter dwells on ‘difference’ as a subjective experience and as ‘read/pointed out’ by others, in gender expression as well as sexual desire. I argue that gender expression and sexuality are fundamentally intertwined with each other and are to be read in the context of both heterosexism and the normative binary model of gender. Many of my study participants have articulated this sense of ‘difference’ in terms of gender non-conformity during childhood, and as ‘sexual difference’ during adolescence and later years. I also describe in the chapter the many normativizing institutions, such as the family, school, peer group, doctors, mental health professionals, that young gay and lesbian persons have to negotiate with, in their process of growing up. These institutions and their actors—including parents, teachers, school authorities, friends, doctors—perform a range of ‘corrective interventions’ to reshape and mould sexual or gender transgressions of the young LG person. Finally, the chapter points towards several unique life experiences and growing-up challenges that young gay and lesbian individuals have to overcome, as they are trying to develop an affirmative sense of self.

Keywords

Childhood gender non-conformity Emergence of sexuality Corrective interventions Developmental challenges 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tata Institute of Social SciencesMumbaiIndia

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