Family formation among lalas (lesbians) in urban China: Strategies for forming families and navigating relationships with families of origin

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19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article explores the ways in which Chinese lesbians, who identify themselves as lalas, form their own families and navigate their relationships with families of origin. To date, there is a lack of research on families formed by same-sex couples in urban China, where homosexuality remains stigmatized. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 35 lala-identified women in Beijing, this article shows that lalas’ formation of families has been shaped by, but at the same time shaping, their relationships with their families of origin, who tend to embrace heteronormative family beliefs. Engaging with ongoing debates on choice and individualization, this study reveals the tensions between lalas’ family aspirations and gendered, familial, material, and socio-political constraints imposed on female-led same-sex families. It contributes to sociological understanding of family change by revealing alternative paths to same-sex family formation in a context where the act of coming out is challenging and families formed by same-sex couples remain largely invisible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-645
JournalJournal of Sociology
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • coming out
  • family
  • heteronormativity
  • homosexuality
  • lesbian
  • sexuality

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