Family in transition: parents, children and grandparents in lesbian families give meaning to ‘doing family’

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Lesbian parents, their children and grandparents ‘do family’ in rich and diverse ways. This article draws on innovative grounded theory research using qualitative, multi-generational family interviews with twenty lesbian-parented families living in Victoria, Australia. The intersection between the public and the private in lesbian family life has been seriously neglected by family researchers, and in particular the perspectives of family members other than the lesbian parents themselves. This article addresses the question of ‘How members of lesbian-parented families define and describe their family’, and the results reported here focus on children's and grandparents' views, because they are the voices less well represented in the literature. Children and grandparents straddle both mainstream and marginalized spaces as they negotiate contemporary family life. We examine the interface and tensions between the traditional and the transformative, and the implications of these findings for family therapists are briefly discussed.

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