“A Lesser of Two Evils”: Arguments Around Same-Sex Parenting Rights in University Students’ Discourse in the Republic of Cyprus

Irini Kadianaki*, Lia Figgou, Konstantinos Savva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction: 

While there is extensive quantitative research on factors related to support/opposition of attitudes towards same-sex parenting (SSP), relevant qualitative research is limited, despite the need to identify subtle and ambivalent forms of prejudice. In this study we examined ways that young people, university students at the Republic of Cyprus formulated favourable arguments that constructed only at first appearance supportive representations of SSP. 

Methods: 

Data were collected in 2021–2022, through 11 focus group discussions with undergraduate and graduate students (26 females and 16 males, 18–27 years old), of different fields of study. Following the principles of discursive/rhetorical analysis, we identified three argumentative lines, all of which included contrasts and comparisons. 

Results: 

The first argumentative line juxtaposed SSP to being raised in an orphanage, the second to irresponsible/disadvantaged (single) parenting and the third compared the upbringing of children in same-sex to that in heterosexual families. All arguments demonstrate a seemingly supportive stance towards SSP rights. Nevertheless, drawing on heteronormative norms, they construct SSP as “a lesser of two evils” and undermine seemingly positive attributes of same-sex families, through reference to children’s exposure to adverse societal reactions. 

Policy Implications: 

We discuss the implications of the findings for SSP social recognition and for sexual citizenship. We also discuss the implications of this approach for attitude research on the topic, underscoring the ideological implications of ‘attitudinal discourse’.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSexuality Research and Social Policy
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

Research programs

  • ESSB PSY

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