Research Repository

Negotiating Sexual Citizenship: Lesbians and reproductive health care

Ryan-Flood, Roisin (2011) 'Negotiating Sexual Citizenship: Lesbians and reproductive health care.' In: Gill, Rosalind and Scharff, Christina, (eds.) New Femininities: Postfeminism, Neoliberalism and Subjectivity. Palgrave Macmillan, 246 - 262. ISBN 9780230223349

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This chapter explores lesbian women’s experiences of reproductive health care and the extent to which such health care is characterized by het-eronormativity at different spatial scales. A growing number of lesbian women are embarking on parenthood in the context of an openly lesbian lifestyle. Recent changes in ‘intimate citizenship’ (Plummer, 2003) include the separation of sexuality and reproduction, and the achievements of the lesbian, gay and bisexual rights movement. These changes have influenced reproductive decision-making among lesbian women, for whom a lesbian identity and motherhood may no longer appear incompatible. Although lesbians have always been parents — from previous heterosexual relationships — the new generation of lesbians who become parents after coming out is a decidedly new development. This pioneering generation of lesbian parents therefore constitute a new figure within the broader domain of new femininities and one whose experiences are profoundly affected by the wider context of sexual citizenship. However, the reproductive pathways of lesbian parenthood remain relatively unexplored in the academic literature, particularly outside the UK and US. This chapter will argue that lesbian experiences of reproductive health care reflect processes of social exclusion, with reference to lesbian parenthood in Sweden and Ireland. This exclusion occurs in relation to inequitable sexual citizenship, such as legislation that denies them access to assisted conception for example. These discriminatory processes may force some lesbian women with sufficient financial resources to explore transnational options in reproductive technologies. Lesbian women without the neces-sary financial capital are therefore doubly excluded. Discrimination is also experienced in relation to homophobia from medical staff during prenatal and antenatal care.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2013 12:43
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2021 10:15

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