Lesbian and gay parents’ sexual citizenship: recognition, belonging and (re)classification

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter draws upon British Academy funded research with lesbian and gay parents from working-class and middle-class backgrounds, and considers the significance of class in the struggle for sexual citizenship, where legal consolidation — such as the Civil Partnership Act (2004) — may be seen as actively materialising family, making that which was sidelined and undervalued, now included and recognised (Taylor 2009). Arguably, the focus on same-sex marriage as the epitome of citizenship inclusion, representing a capacity to belong to and be recognised by the state, has eclipsed other concerns and exclusions, as well as the interconnectedness of status categories with different levels and degrees of (sexual) citizenship. Here, the specifically classed — and classifying — nature of legal recognition will be explored, where critique of ‘new homonormativities’ is extended in focusing upon material, symbolic and subjective classed intersections within new conditionalities of inclusion, belonging and recognition. There are significant legal implications for entering civil partnerships in which the couples are deemed financially responsible for one another and financial assets are shared in, for example, pensions, inheritance tax and social security benefits. While this new ‘responsibilisation’ represented a safety net for many middle-class interviewees (who already had assets to secure and accumulate), for working-class respondents in this study, such provisions often represented a threat: this occurred financially as state benefits (including housing provision) could be retracted or reduced on the basis of dual (partner), rather than single, incomes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContesting Recognition
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780230280502, 9781349327676
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • lesbian and gay parents
  • sexual citizenship


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