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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Heather Dillaway


LGBTQ couples have more opportunities to become parents than ever before. This is partly due to advancements in the LGBTQ movement as well as changes in cultural ideologies, changes in families, and more recent medical advancements (Ryan and Berkowitz 2009). Such changes allow LGBTQ couples to become parents, but to do so in differing ways (Dunne 2000). The legalization of same-sex marriage changed the parenting landscape for LGBTQ parents in a variety of ways. Parenthood is presumably different now that same-sex marriage is officially legal. Experiences among LGBTQ couples in the post legalization of same-sex marriage era raises questions about the context of growing recognition and cultural acceptance of same-sex relationships. I conduct in-depth interviews with LGBTQ parents to learn how they navigate parenting and the construction of parenting roles in the context of a society that has legalized same-sex marriage, yet still is rooted in heteronormative notions of family and parenthood. Specifically, I ask: How do LGBTQ couples construct and make sense of their roles as parents, particularly within the contemporary context of the legalization of same-sex marriage? How do LGBTQ couples experience and make sense of heteronormativity as a parent, and how does this impact parental identities and practices? Understanding the contexts that shape LGBTQ parents’ experiences aids in not only understanding the lives of LGBTQ parents and their families better, but also developing a deeper understanding of contemporary parenting identities and experiences more broadly.

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