A member of the wedding? Heterosexism and family ritual

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Heterosexism as an interpersonal dynamic at weddings was examined using feminist critical science. Data were collected from 45 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who attended focus groups. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender participants described multiple interactions in which they were devalued or hidden, while heterosexuality was elevated, as well as interactions in which they or another family member resisted heterosexism. Weddings were perceived to be difficult, and participation in them was questioned. As part of their critique of weddings, participants offered a vision of relationships that was based on commitment, rather than heterosexuality or material benefits. Results of this study were used to create a brochure and website for educating heterosexual people planning weddings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-368
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2000


  • Family ritual/weddings
  • Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender
  • Grounded theory
  • Heterosexism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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