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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Even Children Get Older: Challenges and Potentials Adult Children of Queers Bring to Queer Theory

  • Author(s): Schuster, Emma
  • Advisor(s): Oaks, Laury
  • et al.

Through interviews with adult children of queer parents, this paper begins to understand the possibilities, consequences, and limitations of queer families and to take seriously the lives and feelings of queer-raised adults as a potential site for theorizing. This project contributes to conversations in queer theory surrounding children and family – conversations that, while lively and contentious, have yet to contend with the actual experiences of adults raised by queer people. Through qualitative analysis of informal interviews with people raised by queer parents this thesis considers two main sites of tension – how adult children of queer people navigate and refuse visibility and legibility and how we respond to pressures to perform as the “happy, healthy and heterosexual” children of our parents. These themes, as well as our potential wisdom in intergenerational queer and feminist conversations, are potential entry points for taking adult children of queer seriously as thinkers in queer theory.

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