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Establish Ties to the Community: Gay Fathers and the Work of Alliance Building in Everyday Family Life


Diana Pash, M.A.
dpash@ucla.edu

UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families
Working Paper No. 30
2004

Abstract

In recent years a greater number of gay fathers have chosen to become parents after having established domestic partnerships. This contrasts with the way that gay fathers have historically become parents, namely, through heterosexual unions prior to or in concert with coming out as gay men. Along with this move toward more co-fathered families, gay fathers and their children have found themselves increasingly drawn into the everyday cultures of both gay and straight family and community life. As gay fathers and their children work to build alliances within their predominantly straight neighborhoods and among their gay family communities, such ties can be potentially tenuous due to a variety of factors that cut across gay and straight communities. Such factors include the unpredictability of social acceptance of gay family status, family membersí personal concerns about and experiences in revealing gay family status, and differences in gay fathersí views toward parenting. However, preliminary findings suggest that despite the possibility for weakening of alliances, potential also exists at the local level of family, neighborhood and community for the establishment and reinforcement of bonds between gay fathers and their children and between gay families and the straight community.

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