The experiences of children growing up in lesbian-headed families in South Africa

  • Lubbe C
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In the fairly short historical period since the adoption of a new constitution, there appears to be an increasing openness and visibility of same-gender relationships and families in South Africa. For example, gay and lesbian couples started to adopt children in openly gay relation- ships during the decade of the 1990s, previously married parents live more openly with their same-gender partners, and lesbian couples are creating their own families due to changed legislation regarding donor insemination. This article highlights findings from a study that explored the experiences of children growing up in lesbian-headed families. Utilizing a narrative inquiry, I captured the reported experiences of the children from their perspectives as they interacted with people in their lives. I also inquired into the ways in which they negotiate the heteronormativity of society. The findings reveal an interconnectedness between key aspects of disclosure, awareness, OKness, openness, and openmindedness. Capturing these experiences of children provides us with insight into how children themselves experience their life worlds and expand our understanding of what it means for children growing up with lesbian parents.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Awareness
  • Children of gay parents
  • Disclosure
  • Lesbian-headed families
  • OKness
  • Openness
  • Same-gender families

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