Co-parenting arrangements in lesbian and gay families: when the ‘mum and dad’ ideal generates innovative family forms
This paper engages with current debates on the potential of contemporary family formations, particularly those created by lesbian women and gay men, to challenge hegemonic family models. Drawing on in-depth interviews with lesbian and gay individuals living in Belgium, it explores parental ideals and family practices amongst people actively choosing ‘co-parenting arrangements’ which include more than two adults raising a child. It examines how this route to parenthood was justified by co-parents’ desire for a biological child, to experience pregnancy, to know the child’s background and most importantly, to provide the child with a mother and a father. These motivations not only aimed at normalising their family situation but reflected deeply anchored family values. The paper demonstrates how innovative and reflexive family forms can arise from conventionally-based assumptions regarding gender roles and kinship, and calls therefore for a more nuanced consideration of individual values and intentions in parenting which potentially destabilise the hegemonic family model.
Health Policy Research Unit This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Families, Relationships & Societies. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at DOI below.
Citation : Herbrand, C. (2017) Co-parenting arrangements in lesbian and gay families: when the ‘mum and dad’ ideal generates innovative family forms. Families, Relationships and Societies, 7 (3), pp. 449-466
ISSN : 2046-7435
Research Group : Reproduction Research Group
Research Institute : Centre for Reproduction Research (CRR)
Peer Reviewed : Yes