Telling family stories : gay and lesbian couples and the performance of family

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Reczek, Corinne Elizabeth

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This project addresses the experiences of 30 gay and lesbian individuals in longterm relationships. Narratives are conceptualized in this study as tools used by individuals for personal and psychological purposes. My analysis reveals that disclosure narratives told by gay and lesbian individuals functionally privilege the intimate couple's resilience. In doing so, individuals perform family in a counter-hegemonic way by subverting the importance of non-supportive family of origin. I also suggest individuals tell post-disclosure life event narratives to conceptualize changes in their relationships. These narratives further illustrate how the performance of family is contextually constructed. Finally, I argue that although such narratives function to transgress hegemonic family forms, the same narrative constructions concurrently and overtly avoid challenging oppressive structures of family by allowing family member's actions to go uncontested. In this way, these narratives reinscribe meanings of family rather than act as transformative agents that could further destabilize constructions of hegemonic family.



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