Two Mothers, One Grandmother: Intergenerational Ambivalence in Heterosexual Mother-LBQ Daughter Relationships

Emily Kazyak, Rosalind Kichler, Jess Morrow, Eliza Thor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using the theoretical framing of structural ambivalence, which points to how competing cultural norms can cause conflict in family relationships, this paper asks: how does the transition to parenthood affect the intergenerational family relationship between LBQ adult women and their heterosexual mothers? Analyzing qualitative data from interviews with three adult child-parent dyads, we discuss how two cultural norms manifest in these relationships: pronatalism, or the privileging of procreation and heteronormativity, or the privileging of heterosexuality. In some ways, the intergenerational family relationship is strengthened as both LGB daughters and their heterosexual mothers express that the grandchild resulted in their becoming closer and developing a better understanding of one another. Yet the intergenerational family relationship is also strained as both members express that new conflicts arose within their relationship over issues such as how to refer to the donor or how to explain the LBQ-parent family to other family members. Mothers often felt put in an intermediary role between family members who did not approve of the LBQ parent’s sexuality and families. We discuss the implications of these findings in relation to sexuality and family scholarship and changing LGBTQ family dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSexuality and Culture
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Familial relationships
  • Lesbian mothering
  • Qualitative research
  • Same-sex parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies

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