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Same-sex Partners and Practices of Familial Intimacy

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Abstract

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This paper presents the preliminary findings of interviews with adult non-partnered non-heterosexual daughters in Hong Kong and Japan, in a larger project comparing the practices of intimacy between mothers and adult heterosexual and non-heterosexual daughters in the two East Asian societies. The interviews revealed the mechanisms through which heteronormativity is enforced, even in cases where the mothers have apparently accepted the daughters’ sexuality and their female partners. While the daughters’ socioeconomic achievements constitute a source of pride for the mothers, they do not thoroughly compensate for the daughters’ gender and sexual transgressions. Likewise, while the presence of a partner could allay the mother’s worry about the daughter, her presence or status in the family is not equivalent to that of a sibling’s spouse.

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