In this book, an array of approaches - first person and theoretical accounts, clinical understandings, qualitative and quantitative research - are brought to bear on controversial or under-discussed topics in lesbian family life.
From conception all the way to care for elderly parents, this book takes a fresh look at lesbian family relationships. Topics include: butch/femme couples, infidelity, the psychological meaning of family for lesbians, age-discrepant couples, lesbian nuns as family, Listservs as family, intentional family for aging women, women raising sons, mothers who come out late in life, mothers and children in situations of domestic violence, lack of support for lesbian domestic violence survivors, death of a partner, psychological issues in the use of sperm donors or surrogates, and middle-aged lesbians caring for homophobic elderly parents. Some authors use self psychology and Jungian psychology to describe aspects of family life. The richness and diversity of topics makes it a text on "lesbian lives".
Therapists and academics from throughout the U.S. have contributed to this collection. Many lesbian women, as well as teachers (it can be a text) and mental health professionals who work with children, families, couples and elderly will find useful material here.
This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies.
Table of Contents
Foreword 1. Lesbian Family Life, Like the Fingers of a Hand: Under-Discussed and Controversial Topics Valory Mitchell 2. More than Surface Tension: Femmes in Families Arlene Istar Lev 3. Infidelity: Outlaws and In-Laws and Lesbian Relationships Beverly Burch 4. Just Molly and Me, and Donor Makes Three: Lesbian Motherhood in the Age of Assisted Reproductive Technology Diane Ehrensaft 5. The Masculine Principle in Lesbian Families: A Jungian Understanding Amy Weston 6. Lesbian Mothering in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence Jennifer L. Hardesty, Ramona Faith Oswald, Lyndal Khaw, Carol Fonseca, and Grace H. Chung 7. “Family” Support for Family Violence: Exploring Community Support Systems for Lesbian and Bisexual Women Who Have Experienced Abuse Susan C. Turell and Molly M. Herrmann 8. Lesbians Grieving the Death of a Partner: Recommendations for Practice Debra J. Broderick, Jean M. Birbilis, and Michael F. Steger 9. Feeding the Hand that Bit You: Lesbian Daughters at Mid-Life Negotiating Parental Caretaking Susan Cayleff 10. Adult Daughters whose Mothers Come Out Later in Life: What is the Psychosocial Impact? Kristen Davies 11. May–December Lesbian Relationships: Power Storms or Blue Skies? Cindy M. Bruns 12. Women Aging Together in Community Jane Ariel 13. We Are Family: I Got All My Sisters with Me! Mary Kay Hunyady 14. Choosing Family: Meaning and Membership in the Lesbian Family of Choice Valory Mitchell
Valory Mitchell received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1983. She is a full professor in the Psy.D. Program at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant University, San Francisco Campus, where she has taught for over 20 years. She has been coordinator of the school's Gender Studies Emphasis Area, and director of its Institute for the Psychology of Women.