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Drexler, P. (2006). The New Family Tree: Lesbian, Gay, Parenting, Boys, Latency, Oedipal Conflicts, Gender Development, Masculine Identity. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 5(2):240-256.

(2006). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 5(2):240-256

The New Family Tree: Lesbian, Gay, Parenting, Boys, Latency, Oedipal Conflicts, Gender Development, Masculine Identity

Peggy Drexler, Ph.D.

This is a case study of George, the only son of May and Georgina, who starting at a very young age had to master the intricate dynamics of his parentage, which included not just two mothers but a donor father, Carroll, with grown children of his own, who lived across town with his second wife Jessica and their daughter Bobbi, who was a schoolmate of George's. Both sets of parents shared babysitting arrangements; Jessica and Georgina cochaired the PTA at their children's school. It explores how the development of masculinity is manifested in a family in which the parents are both women and the sperm donor is a shadowy father figure. I conclude that George's masculine identity formation was occurring normally.

Societal concerns and psychological issues arise about whether “boys will be boys” with two-parent lesbian couples raising sons conceived via donor insemination and where no father or father figure is present. Will they develop in the terms put forth by psychoanalytic constructs and by other developmental models? Moreover, with all the freighted meaning that America assigns to its boys, especially in an age characterized by anxiety and uncertainty about what masculinity should be and how it manifests in the world, I wanted to find out how a boy figures out how to be a boy without a full-time man around presumably with whom to identify and model.

In 1996, I began my study by comparing the moral development of 16 sons of lesbian couples ages 5 to 9 with 16 boys of similar age from more traditional heterosexual families.

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