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Parenting in an Uncertain Future: the experiences of parents in the “PFLAG China” community

Shi, Junpeng (2021) Parenting in an Uncertain Future: the experiences of parents in the “PFLAG China” community. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Based on fieldwork in the “PFLAG China” community where parents accept their children’s lifestyle of practising same-sex love and rejecting conventional marriage, this thesis analyses these parents’ family practices and further, discusses the experiences of dealing with intergenerational ambivalence. The changing kinship norms viewing marriage based on male-female love, has facilitated the competitive relationship between same-sex love and marriage. Thus, children in the “PFLAG China” community are inclined to reject marriage because of same-sex love. Parents negotiate their understanding of their children’s life, their selves as parents, parent-child relationships and family happiness during the process of acceptance and intergenerational negotiation. The “scientific” knowledge normalises children’s same-sex attraction, justifies parents’ acceptance and helps parents overcome the self-blame caused by early psychiatry, which viewed children’s same-sex sexuality as the result of parenting failures. However, children’s refusal of marriage makes parents worry about their children’s care arrangements, as marriage provides primary care and procreation. Then, parents acknowledge and recognise children’s same-sex partnership, viewing it as the substitute for marriage. Due to parents’ eagerness for grandparenthood and their children enjoying the happiness of being parents, they actively participate in decision making of having offspring. Regarding family representation, parents usually disclose children’s lifestyle of same-sex love to a limited number of people like members of the “extended family” and good friends, driven by their boundary thinking of viewing it as their family issue and the fear of prejudge and discrimination. This thesis concludes that the ideal same-sex modality from the parents’ perspective is a semi-social double bond of sexuality and economy between two same-sex non-consanguineal individuals, a type of cohabitation. Their experiences of dealing with intergenerational ambivalence accord to the emancipation model characterised by maintaining close parent-child relationships and achieving change to the social norm. Respecting the children’s self-defined happiness is important in this process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: China; kinship; family; parent-child relationships; parenting; LGBT; homosexuality; everyday life; social change
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Junpeng Shi
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2021 11:31
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2021 11:32
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/31059

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