Lesbian motherhood in a Chilean cultural context

Figueroa Guinez, Victor Manuel (2018) Lesbian motherhood in a Chilean cultural context. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

An emerging body of research is paying a particular attention into the family life of lesbian mothers who live in Latino countries. These studies have revealed how the cultural understandings of gender, sexuality and homophobia and the political/legal context have constrained the family experiences of Latina lesbian mothers. Notwithstanding, these studies have failed to recognize possible linkages between religious discourses and family of origin influences on understandings of lesbian motherhood within a Latino context. Latino societies hold a strong Christian religious heritage, with the Catholic Church being historically influential on national legislation that privileges heteronormative assumptions of family formation. By exploring the case of Chile, this thesis aims to examine how understandings of lesbian motherhood are constructed within the context of a strongly Catholic, and to some extent Evangelical, Latino society. The thesis details findings from three empirical, qualitative studies, within a life course theory perspective. Data from 29 participants collected through individual semi-structured interviews and focus groups were analysed. The first study used individual interviews and Narrative Analysis to explore the stories of sexual identity and motherhood of eight lesbian mothers who conceived their children within the context of a previous heterosexual relationship. The study found that participants struggled to express their same-gender feelings because lesbian women were often seen as "sick" or "deviant" and inappropriate models of motherhood. The second study used focus groups and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to explore the expectations of motherhood of a younger cohort of six lesbian and bisexual prospective mothers. The study revealed that participants thought that it would be difficult to deal with Chilean society as mothers because the same-gender attraction was still seen as a perversion/abnormality by some people within their family of origin and their social contexts. The third study investigated contemporary Chilean attitudes towards lesbian and gay parenting using Thematic Analysis of focus group data from 15 heterosexual women who were first-year psychology students in an evening university program. The study revealed that a minority of participants had worries that having same-gender parents could disrupt children's gender and sexual orientation development. It is concluded that despite an increasing level of acceptance of “homosexuality” in Chile, lesbian mothers were still regarded as "immoral" models for children by some heterosexual people, particularly those who had a Christian religious background. These moral discourses had a strong impact on what lesbian and bisexual participants felt they could reasonably do or on what they expected to happen by living in Chilean society as a mother.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2018 12:06
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2018 12:06
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/323

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