Title page for ETD etd-11092010-124413

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Glass, Valerie Q
Author's Email Address vqglass@vt.edu
URN etd-11092010-124413
Title Black Lesbian Families and Their Relationships With Their Families of Origin
Degree PhD
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Few-Demo, April L. Committee Chair
Allen, Katherine R. Committee Member
Dolbin-MacNab, Megan L. Committee Member
Piercy, Fred P. Committee Member
  • Therapy
  • African American
  • Lesbian
  • Feminist
  • Family
  • Lesbian Stepfamily
Date of Defense 2010-10-26
Availability unrestricted
Twenty-two African American lesbians were interviewed in order to identify and examine the intersection of individual and family processes that African American lesbian couples engage in as a family with members of their families of origin. A qualitative research design based on grounded theory methods was used. Data were interpreted using an integrative framework of postmodern feminism, Black feminism, and symbolic interactionism. Findings revealed three major themes: a) Black lesbian couples go through a coming out process as a couple and as individuals, at times, simultaneously; b) Black lesbian families establish and enforce boundaries to protect their intentional, co-created families, and this boundary definition shapes lesbian family identity, and c) resources accessible from informal social supports by African American lesbian families are different from the types of social support and resources available to Black lesbian individuals. These findings provide valuable insights into lesbian family processes that can assist family studies, feminist scholars, family therapists, and community practitioners in identifying future research directions and clinical practices appropriate for African American lesbian families.
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