The heterogeneity of family: Responses to representational invisibility by LGBTQ parents

Reed, Elizabeth. 2018. The heterogeneity of family: Responses to representational invisibility by LGBTQ parents. Journal of Family Issues, 39(18), pp. 4204-4225. ISSN 0192 513X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article draws on qualitative research data collected in semi-structured interviews conducted during 2013 and 2014 with 30 lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) parents living in England and Scotland. It explores how LGBTQ parents respond to media representations of families like theirs, and build narratives of family identity from limited cultural resources. Media, encompassing a range of cultural representational resources, including advertisements, television, books and films, produces specific knowledges about LGBTQ families. Participants argued that popular entertainment media (including Modern Family) offered a limited range of representations of LGBTQ parents and concretizes knowledge about the shape of families. I argue that available representations fail to acknowledge the diversity of non-heterosexual family forms and that this representational gap results in socio-cultural invisibility. I explore the responses LGBTQ parents had to such gaps and how they negotiated, or rejected representational meanings in order to consolidate new narratives of family.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


LGBTQ parents, parenting, media representation, culture, identity, family diversity, qualitative, queer reading, LGBTQ issues.

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30 January 2018Accepted
9 November 2018Published Online

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Date Deposited:

05 Mar 2018 13:14

Last Modified:

09 Nov 2019 02:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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