‘Gay men, gay men and more gay men’: traditional, liberal and critical perspectives on male role models in lesbian families
Clarke, V. (2006) ‘Gay men, gay men and more gay men’: traditional, liberal and critical perspectives on male role models in lesbian families. Lesbian & Gay Psychology Review , 7 (1). pp. 19-35. ISSN 1467-2472
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The argument that children require role models of both sexes is a central theme in opposition to lesbian parenting. Challenges to this opposition have emphasised the ways in which children in lesbian families are compensated for the alleged deficit of a father. In this paper I provide an antidote to gender normalising discussions of male role models by exploring critical accounts of ‘gays as role models’. The first half of the paper examines the deployment of traditional, liberal and critical discourse on male role models in relation to lesbian families. The second half provides a discourse analysis of excerpts from an interview with a lesbian couple raising three children, examining tensions in claiming gay men as positive role models for children in a lesbian family. I conclude by considering the costs and benefits of liberal and critical responses to claims about the necessity of male role models.
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