Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Lesbian mothers-Psychology, Gender identity, Lesbian, Mother, Identity intersection


This purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of lesbian women who have become mothers. My specific research aim was to investigate the formation of the lesbian-mother identity in terms of the way the individual woman's identity as a lesbian is shaped by her new experience and identity as a mother. Within this framework, I looked at which identity felt most salient in everyday life and how the individual woman felt each identity had contributed to her sense of self. I also looked at the different factors that either reinforce or inhibit an individual's likelihood to feel comfortable in expressing her identity, as a mother or a lesbian. Ten self-identified lesbian women who were in state-recognized marriages with their partner and were co-mothering one or more children under the age of ten, were interviewed for this project. Only women who could participate in this interview with their partner were included in the study. The interviews were transcribed and the content was analyzed—four themes emerged from the data: relationship between sexual identity and accessing resources, low identity conflict, marginality as a site of resistance, and the importance of achieving motherhood. Throughout this project, I aimed to view the lesbian mother identity as one that is unique and fluid, and not in comparison to previously formed heteronormative mother identities.




iii, 71 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 53-57)