The difficulties faced by lalas in China in securing defamilisation and familisation

Sam Wai Kam Yu , Emma Liu , Iris Po Yee Lo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to focus on the difficulties faced by women with same-sex desire (commonly known as “lalas”) in China in securing defamilisation and familisation. It has two objectives – to show the challenges lalas face in organizing their life in interaction with the family, work economy and government; and to discuss how these challenges make women with same-sex desire difficult to secure defamilisation and familisation. Familisation refers to the extent to which people’s participation in the family is increased; whereas defamilisation refers to the extent to which people’s participation in the family is reduced.

The authors conducted literature review and in-depth interviews with 20 Chinese women with same-sex desire in Beijing to collect and analyze data for fulfilling the two objectives.

Lalas face serious challenges in their daily lives – they receive insufficient support from the government, work economy and family in organizing their life and their freedom is constrained by these three sectors. These challenges render lalas difficult to achieve several types of defamilisation/familisation (the “carer,” “care receiver,” “provider of financial support” and “receiver of financial support”).

Few defamilisation and familisation studies focus on women with same-sex desire. No studies on defamilisation and familisation of lalas in China have been done before. With the focus on lalas, the paper discovers new causes of the difficulties in securing defamilisation/familisation, and possible solutions to these difficulties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1086-1100
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number11/12
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • defamilisation
  • familisation
  • lalas
  • same-sex desire

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