Fitting in: A study of lesbian mothers in rural Southeastern Michigan
Lesbian parents residing in rural and small communities have received little scholarly attention. The primary focus of the existing research has highlighted the isolation experienced by lesbian parents within such locations, but little examination has been made of other issues or their coping mechanisms. This study was designed to address these deficits in knowledge and understanding through a series of eleven in-depth, qualitative interviews. Several stigma management strategies were discovered. For example, it was reported that engaging in farming and trade helped lesbian mothers “fit in” enough to gain some level of acceptance from their immediate neighbors. Stigma was also managed by being “model citizens” and by attempts to educate the community on LGBT issues. While participants saw some small progress using these strategies, at the same time, they also disclosed experiences with harassment, being made to feel uncomfortable, and being the victims of crimes.