The Power of Culture: Notes on Some Aspects of Gay and Lesbian Kinship in America Today

Essay Excerpt

How...should gay and lesbian family formation, marriages, and parenting be understood in today's culture?

At the simplest level, they strongly suggest that homosexuality is not very different from straight (hetero)sexuality insofar as kinship and family are concerned. Gay and lesbian couples are formed by people in love. They create a domestic unit. They may or may not "get married" in a formal ceremony of some kind. They may want children or they may not, and they may find ways to have them - by adoption, artificial insemination, and so on (Hayden 1995; Lerner 1995; Lewin 1993; Weston 1991, 1995), thus putting the lie to the claim that homosexuality is inherently sterile (a claim which has had different implications for lesbians and gay men). In sum, all of the above demonstrates that lesbians and gay men are not antifamily (270). 

Schneider, D. M. "The Power of Culture: Notes on Some Aspects of Gay and Lesbian Kinship in America Today." Cultural Anthropology 12.2(1997): 270–274.

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