"Let's Go to the Movies": Filmic Representations of Gay Foster and Adoptive Parents

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    Abstract

    As a growing body of research evidence demonstrates, increasing numbers of gay men across the world are choosing to become foster or adoptive parents. Most important, the families that these men form are continually found to be supportive and positive environments in which to raise children. Yet despite these positive findings, other empirical evidence from examinations of popular media representations of gay parents highlights the negative assumptions that continue to be perpetuated against gay men who are parents. More specifically, these findings suggest that print and popular media promote an account of gay parents that is often either normalising or pathologising. The findings presented in this article extend this latter body of research by exploring filmic portrayals of gay men variously engaged in fostering and adoptive arrangements. Through an analysis of five recently released films, four dominant themes are elaborated: (1) the capacity of gay men to parent and under what circumstances; (2) the relationship between gay men's sexual identities and their identity as parents; (3) the agency of children who are cared for by gay men; and (4) constructions of kinship in the films. Implications are explored for what these themes tells us about the representations of gay men deemed acceptable or intelligible at present, and the identities the films offer to gay parent viewers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)297-312
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
    Volume7
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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