Challenging the unthinkable: gay and lesbian parents between redefinition and exclusion in Italy


  • Marina Franchi London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Giulia Selmi Università di Verona



Despite the approval of the Cirinnà law and the on-going changes in public attitudes towards LGBT families and couples, the familial and parental project of gay men and lesbian women keep being “unthinkable” within the Italian socio-cultural landscape where the trope of nature is still a guiding ideal for the construction of both parental and kinship relationships. Drawing upon 29 qualitative interviews with gay men and lesbian women, we analyse how informants negotiate the persisting heteronormativity of the Italian context both in their intimate lives and in the encounter with the public sphere, by discussing the tensions between a process of redefinition of the traditional family and kinship roles within the family network and the persisting exclusion from the public sphere.

Keywords: same-sex parents, heteronormativity, family, kinship.

Author Biographies

Marina Franchi, London School of Economics and Political Science

LSE Fellow-LSE100

Giulia Selmi, Università di Verona

Assegnista di Ricerca- Dipartimento di Science Umane