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Title: Coming out and being a father : a qualitative study
Author: Fitzgerald, Damien
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 1516
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2015
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There is a substantial body of research exploring men identifying and coming out as gay. However, this is mainly focused on adolescents and young adults. Coming out is outlined by various models, which predominantly focus on the individual who identifies as gay and construct coming out as a discrete event that is completed. Similarly, there is a more limited body of research focused on gay parenting. However, the majority of research either focuses on lesbian mothers or uses quantitative approaches to identify deficits that children face due to having a gay parent. This study focuses on gay parenting in the context of how previously (heterosexually) married men who are fathers subsequently foregrounded their identity as a gay man. Data was collected using in-depth interviews to explore how these fathers constructed their identity as a gay man within the context of being a husband, ex-husband and father. The research utilises a Foucauldian discursive approach to analyse how 12 participants frame their practices and positions as a gay man and father and how this is managed within a heteronormative family context. Initially participants drew on a heteronormative discourse to maintain a legitimate identity as a heterosexual man, husband and father. However, this required participants to constrain their gay identity. When fathers foregrounded a gay identity they justified this by drawing on a liberal humanist discourse. Foregrounding a gay identity as a father violated many of the heteronormative practices associated with being a father and this required ongoing negotiation by participants, their children and other family members. This required participants to continually negotiate the foregrounding and backgrounding of their gay identity to fit with expected practices as a father in varied social contexts. The conceptual implications of this for understanding the process of coming out, the experience of gay fathers and future research and practice are discussed.
Supervisor: Doherty, Kathy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available