Biblarz and Savci JMF 2010 - TIMOTHY J BIBLARZ AND EVREN...

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TIMOTHYJ. BIBLARZ ANDEVRENSAVCIUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender FamiliesThis article reviews new scholarship on lesbian,gay, bisexual, and transgender families. Thepast decade witnessed rapid expansion of dataand strong research designs. The most notableadvance was in studies on variation amongmostlyplannedlesbiancomotherfamilies.Cumulative evidence suggests that althoughmany of these families have comparatively highlevels of shared labor and parental investment,they may not be as ‘‘genderless’’ as previouslydepicted. Gay men’s diverse paths to familyformation and planned parenthood have alsobeen explored, but almost no research studiestheir children’s experiences. Conceptualizationsofsexualorientationexpandedtoincludebisexuals and others, and some understandingof the experiences of transgender people hasbegun to emerge. Future work should explorerelationships among members of the familiesthey create.In the 1990s, marriages between same-genderpartners were not legally recognized anywherein the world and families formed by gay men,lesbians, and bisexual and transgender peoplefaced considerable opprobrium and intolerance.Researchers were documenting what most socialscientists already knew but what much of thepublic, perhaps inundated by ‘‘virtual socialscience’’ (Stacey, 1997), did not: that sexualorientations and gender identities per se havealmost nothing to do with fitness for family rolesDepartment of Sociology, University of SouthernCalifornia, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2539([email protected]).Key Words: bisexual, family diversity, gay, gender, lesbian,sexuality, transgender.and relationships, including parenting. Manyof the studies during this period, reviewedbyPatterson(2000)inJMF,showedthatlesbian and gay couples, parents, and theirchildren averaged at least as high as theirheterosexual counterparts in relationship quality,psychological well-being, social adjustment, andparental investment.Beginning in September 2000, when TheNetherlands extended the right to marry toinclude same-sex couples, the ensuing decadebrought significant expansion of legal rights andrecognitions. Same-sex marriage became legalin Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Spain, SouthAfrica, Canada, and Mexico City, and in theUnited States in Massachusetts, Connecticut,Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Wash-ington, DC. Dozens of other nations and statesgranted same-sex couples rights associated withmarriage via domestic partnerships, civil unions,and the like. A number allowed second-parentadoption by same-sex couples. Of course, homo-phobia and discrimination are still prevalent, andthere was a push back by opponents (e.g., Cali-fornians voted to amend the state constitution tolimit legal marriage to that between a man anda woman, bans on same-sex marriage passedby popular vote in dozens of U.S. states, andsome states passed restrictions to exclude gaymen and lesbians from adopting children). Notall of the newsworthy events regarding lesbian,

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