Hong Kong Lesbian Partners in the Making of Their Own Families

Day K M WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This chapter adopts the theoretical approach of social constructionism and considers family to be a human product rather than manifestation of any inherent or transhistorical essences. Specifically, it explores the meaning-making processes of lesbian couples who consider themselves family, despite being shut out of wedlock in Hong Kong. The first section critically reviews the family studies in Hong Kong, and it will highlight same-sex partnerships as a missing part of family diversity. In what follows, I shall discuss the findings of a qualitative study based on biographical interviews with 10 lesbians who identified their same-sex partners as family members. It is found that, unlike the “lesbaby boom” in the West during the 1980s, the making of family by Hong Kong lesbians is not so much associated with the plan to have children. Rather, they articulate and experience the same-sex relationships as family along three major axes: affirmation of commitment, provision of care, and integration with blood families. This study shows the interaction and interdependence between agency and structure, and argues that Hong Kong lesbian couples are active agents who borrow and sometimes even go beyond the rules of heterosexual relationships in constructing a new social reality—same-sex family—for themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Chinese Families
EditorsKwok-bun Chan
PublisherSpringer New York
Pages575-590
Number of pages16
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781461402664
ISBN (Print)9781461402657, 9781493940509
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Heterosexual Couple
  • Lesbian Couple
  • LGBT Community
  • Couple Family
  • Lesbian Partner

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