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Smith College

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


This is an explorative study of Dutch Lesbian parents and their experiences having and raising children in Dutch society. This research explores the social attitudes surrounding lesbian parents in Amsterdam and another city to see how their experiences are shaped by factors including their sexual orientation, their construction of family, and the relationships and values they feel are important to impart on their children. 5 qualitative interviews, four with married couples, and 1 solo interview, laid the groundwork for the research. The data from the interviews was analyzed using existing texts on LGBTQ, within a framework of social constructionist theory. Interview subjects spoke about their lives as lesbian women in the Netherlands, and their history dealing with their identities as they grew up and had children. They also spoke of their creation of their families, and the reactions and implications it had in their friends and families lives as well as their own. Overall, these women felt no discrimination in society as a result of their identities, but still recognized feeling different than other individuals, and this feeling of difference led to self-perceptions of increased tolerance in their parenting values. Their difference as same-sex parents also led to differences in the understanding of what makes a family, and their experiences resisting dominant ideas of familial construction also gave rise to feelings of increased awareness and tolerance of how gender roles were expressed in their children’s lives. This research is important for anyone studying or interested in LGBTQ culture, parenthood, and Dutch society.


Community-Based Learning | Dutch Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences


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