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Bisexuality and family: narratives of silence, solace, and strength

Watson, Janet B 2015, Bisexuality and family: narratives of silence, solace, and strengthQueerying families of origin, Routledge, Abingdon, Eng., pp.101-123.


Title Bisexuality and family: narratives of silence, solace, and strength
Author(s) Watson, Janet B
Title of book Queerying families of origin
Publication date 2015
Chapter number 6
Total chapters 12
Start page 101
End page 123
Total pages 23
Publisher Routledge
Place of Publication Abingdon, Eng.
Keyword(s) Sexual minorities
Social science
Gender studies
Gender groups
Gay & lesbian
Gender identity & sex roles
Self & social identity
Summary This article examines the constellation of factors that come to bear in the family domain for bisexually desiring, behaving, or identifying individuals. Specifically, it interrogates the prevailing conditions that hinder or encourage disclosure of bisexuality and the consequences of such action. It argues that the family is uniquely situated at the interface of private and public domains of sociality, and, thus, negotiation of sexuality is herein constructed through the articulation of the "the family closet." Analysis draws on doctoral research that investigated the sociological nexus of sex, gender, and bisexuality in an Australian sample. Data collected via 47 in-depth interviews comprised a sex-/gender-diverse cohort including men and women, as well as transgender, cross-dressing, genderqueer, and intersex individuals. From this diversity of narratives the family environ emerged as a primary locus of personal and social challenge. Case studies taken from the data demonstrate how disclosure of bisexuality to family of origin was a selective process predicated by a range of sociocultural considerations such as religion, geographical location, and dominant discourses of gender and sexuality. These narratives foreground a spectrum of family responses spanning total estrangement, silence and/or denial, tentative acknowledgement, or complete acceptance and support. Whether encountered as sites of negative resistance or positive acceptance, respondents' stories illuminate the capacity to forge strategies of coping, resilience, and empowerment. A theoretical framework informed by the nomadic philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari is deployed in order to explain these findings.
ISBN 9781317572084
Language eng
Field of Research 200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality
Socio Economic Objective 0 Not Applicable
HERDC Research category B1 Book chapter
ERA Research output type B Book chapter
Copyright notice ©2015, Taylor & Francis
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30087801

Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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