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Lesbians as family elder carers

Extant caregiving research indicates family caring as being a female gendered task and the family caregiver as a related, heterosexual, female. On the other hand, research examining caregiving by the LGBT population is focused on partner caregiving or parenting. Taken together, the experiences of lesbian family caregivers remain unexamined by both caregiving research and LGBT psychological research. To redress this omission four empirical studies were undertaken. Study One was a Foucauldian genealogy, which aimed to establish how the current construction of the informal carer concept came into being. The analysis highlighted how the current carer concept influences research leading to some carers being considered more valid than others. Study Two examined the elder caregiving experiences of lesbian women (n = 10) using grounded theory methodology. Issues pertaining to lesbian identity, privacy and living as an “out” lesbian were raised. Study Three explored the anticipated future caregiving involvement with aging families of young lesbian women (n = 20) using thematic analysis. The young women anticipated future, unproblematic, connectedness with their families, as well as future lesbian created families of their own. Study Four examined how a general population (n = 324) perceived lesbian family caregiving using a vignette questionnaire with 8 conditions. Overall an effect of modern homonegativity was found. In sum, the lesbian caregiver experience is elided due to the dominant heteronormative family discourse that dictates the focus of caregiver research. Examining the lesbian caregiver experience indicates unique issues for lesbian carers around the loss of lesbian identity, loss of lesbian social networks, and difficulties in lesbian identity performance within the home. Younger women anticipated providing family elder care, but did not envisage sexual orientation related problems. While general perceptions of lesbian caregiving are mediated by modern homonegativity that work to deny the lesbian carer agency.

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:bl.uk/oai:ethos.bl.uk:693192
Date January 2016
CreatorsParslow-Breen, Orla M.
ContributorsHegarty, Peter
PublisherUniversity of Surrey
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
Sourcehttp://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/811591/

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