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‘We’re all very liberal in our views’: students’ talk about lesbian and gay parenting

Clarke, Victoria


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Dr Victoria Clarke
Associate Professor in Qualitative & Critical Psychology


Mapping the contours of homophobia and heterosexism is a key concern for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) psychology. In this paper, I present a discursive analysis of the construction of heterosexism in student focus group discussions about lesbian and gay parenting. My analysis (empirically) develops Kitzinger’s (1987) theoretical and political argument that the concept of homophobia is embedded in a liberal framework and requires people to endorse a liberal construction of homosexuality is order to be considered tolerant. The paper contributes to the growing literature on the discursive construction of heterosexism by exploring the participants’ use of liberal language and assumptions and how these are complicit in the reproduction of heteronormativity. I identify three ways in which the students ‘do being’ liberal. In all cases, the participants’ discourse fails to move beyond a heterocentric perspective. I provide examples of each of these themes and explore their rhetorical design and ideological functions.


Clarke, V. (2005). ‘We’re all very liberal in our views’: students’ talk about lesbian and gay parenting

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 1, 2005
Deposit Date Nov 23, 2010
Journal Lesbian & Gay Psychology Review
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 1
Pages 2-15
Keywords discourse analysis, heterosexism, lesbian and gay parenting, liberalism
Public URL
Publisher URL


we're_all_very_liberal_in_our_views_final_LGPR.doc (94 Kb)

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