Russian lesbian mothers: between traditional values and human rights”

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Contemporary Russian state ideology has turned towards instituting "traditional family values," an official turn that increased legal and social discrimination against queer families. The concept of "traditional family values" in the contemporary Russian state discourse refers to the "naturalness" of the heterosexual family, consisting of two parents and their biological offspring. This discourse eliminates the possibility of public lesbian parenting. Following the idea of the conceptualizations of queer temporalities in different geo-cultural contexts, I examine the impact of recent oppressive legal changes in Russia on reproductive choices, everyday parenting strategies, and social interactions among lesbian mothers. In this work, I seek to show more than the obvious harm caused by the "anti-gay law" in terms of its effects on lesbian-headed families. To do so, I analyze the strategies applied by Russian lesbian mothers to tackle the rapidly changing state ideologies and legislative landscapes. I do this by discussing the ways in which lesbian mothers in Russia "manipulate" their social status to avoid possible official or unofficial homophobic actions directed towards them and their children. For example, they may come out selectively, carefully choosing the people to whom they openly present their identity. I argue that to adhere to "ordinary" or "normal" family life, lesbian mothers in Russia use several survival strategies. One of these strategies relates to speculation about immigration to the "West." That is, some lesbian families prepare all of the necessary documentation, secure valid visas, and attend special workshops where they receive legal and informational support on asylum seeking and emigration from Russia. Another set of strategies for maintaining family identity relies on the decision to come out as a co-mother during interactions with official institutions or to choose other identities; for example, godmother or sister of the birth mother of a child. An additional important strategy for lesbian mothers relies on drafting documents that maintain their rights in severe circumstances. This set of actions focuses on legally supporting the parental rights through the use of loopholes in the Russian legislation and drafting documents that maintain their rights to child custody and their partner's property.

Originalspråkengelska
Artikelnummer3
TidskriftJournal of Lesbian Studies
Volym23
Utgåva3
Sidor (från-till)321-335
Antal sidor15
ISSN1089-4160
DOI
StatusPublicerad - 23 apr 2019
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

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Russian lesbian mothers: between traditional values and human rights”. / Zhabenko, Alisa.

I: Journal of Lesbian Studies, Vol. 23, Nr. 3, 3, 23.04.2019, s. 321-335.

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review

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N2 - Contemporary Russian state ideology has turned towards instituting "traditional family values," an official turn that increased legal and social discrimination against queer families. The concept of "traditional family values" in the contemporary Russian state discourse refers to the "naturalness" of the heterosexual family, consisting of two parents and their biological offspring. This discourse eliminates the possibility of public lesbian parenting. Following the idea of the conceptualizations of queer temporalities in different geo-cultural contexts, I examine the impact of recent oppressive legal changes in Russia on reproductive choices, everyday parenting strategies, and social interactions among lesbian mothers. In this work, I seek to show more than the obvious harm caused by the "anti-gay law" in terms of its effects on lesbian-headed families. To do so, I analyze the strategies applied by Russian lesbian mothers to tackle the rapidly changing state ideologies and legislative landscapes. I do this by discussing the ways in which lesbian mothers in Russia "manipulate" their social status to avoid possible official or unofficial homophobic actions directed towards them and their children. For example, they may come out selectively, carefully choosing the people to whom they openly present their identity. I argue that to adhere to "ordinary" or "normal" family life, lesbian mothers in Russia use several survival strategies. One of these strategies relates to speculation about immigration to the "West." That is, some lesbian families prepare all of the necessary documentation, secure valid visas, and attend special workshops where they receive legal and informational support on asylum seeking and emigration from Russia. Another set of strategies for maintaining family identity relies on the decision to come out as a co-mother during interactions with official institutions or to choose other identities; for example, godmother or sister of the birth mother of a child. An additional important strategy for lesbian mothers relies on drafting documents that maintain their rights in severe circumstances. This set of actions focuses on legally supporting the parental rights through the use of loopholes in the Russian legislation and drafting documents that maintain their rights to child custody and their partner's property.

AB - Contemporary Russian state ideology has turned towards instituting "traditional family values," an official turn that increased legal and social discrimination against queer families. The concept of "traditional family values" in the contemporary Russian state discourse refers to the "naturalness" of the heterosexual family, consisting of two parents and their biological offspring. This discourse eliminates the possibility of public lesbian parenting. Following the idea of the conceptualizations of queer temporalities in different geo-cultural contexts, I examine the impact of recent oppressive legal changes in Russia on reproductive choices, everyday parenting strategies, and social interactions among lesbian mothers. In this work, I seek to show more than the obvious harm caused by the "anti-gay law" in terms of its effects on lesbian-headed families. To do so, I analyze the strategies applied by Russian lesbian mothers to tackle the rapidly changing state ideologies and legislative landscapes. I do this by discussing the ways in which lesbian mothers in Russia "manipulate" their social status to avoid possible official or unofficial homophobic actions directed towards them and their children. For example, they may come out selectively, carefully choosing the people to whom they openly present their identity. I argue that to adhere to "ordinary" or "normal" family life, lesbian mothers in Russia use several survival strategies. One of these strategies relates to speculation about immigration to the "West." That is, some lesbian families prepare all of the necessary documentation, secure valid visas, and attend special workshops where they receive legal and informational support on asylum seeking and emigration from Russia. Another set of strategies for maintaining family identity relies on the decision to come out as a co-mother during interactions with official institutions or to choose other identities; for example, godmother or sister of the birth mother of a child. An additional important strategy for lesbian mothers relies on drafting documents that maintain their rights in severe circumstances. This set of actions focuses on legally supporting the parental rights through the use of loopholes in the Russian legislation and drafting documents that maintain their rights to child custody and their partner's property.

KW - Anti-gay law

KW - Discourse

KW - Homophobia

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KW - Russian lesbian mothers

KW - Lesbians' survival strategies

KW - 6160 Other humanities

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