"Good lesbian, bad lesbian...": Regulating heterosexuality in fostering and adoption assessments

Hicks, S 2000, '"Good lesbian, bad lesbian...": Regulating heterosexuality in fostering and adoption assessments' , Child & Family Social Work, 5 (2) , pp. 157-168.

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The paper examines the assessment of lesbians who apply to foster or adopt, using data generated from 30 interviews with local authority social workers. Using feminist and queer theories, the author suggests that lesbian applicants pose a challenge to the discourse of 'compulsory gender and heterosexuality' which structures fostering and adoption work. It is argued that this discourse relies upon a series of assumptions about the automatic fitness of heterosexual applicants, especially concerning the idea of gender and sexuality role models needed for children's development. Further, this 'heteronormative' discourse relies upon the continuing need to make 'other' the categories 'lesbian' or 'gay'. The article considers how 'the lesbian' is constructed as a 'threat', as 'militant', or as 'automatically safe' in assessments, and makes the point that social work is productive of versions of the lesbian subject. The author argues that only certain versions are likely to be approved to foster or adopt, particularly that which is termed 'the good lesbian'.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > HQ1101 Women. Feminism
Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Journal or Publication Title: Child & Family Social Work
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1356-7500
Depositing User: Dr Stephen Hicks
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2009 10:19
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 08:34
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/2282

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