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The Story of Sexual IdentityNarrative Perspectives on the Gay and Lesbian Life Course$
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Phillip L. Hammack and Bertram J. Cohler

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195326789

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326789.001.0001

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Midlife Lesbian Lifeworlds

Midlife Lesbian Lifeworlds

Narrative Theory and Sexual Identity

(p.347) 15 Midlife Lesbian Lifeworlds
The Story of Sexual Identity

Mary M. Read

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses narrative identity theory to describe and facilitate an understanding of issues regarding the formation of a positive lesbian identity among a particular cohort of women: midlife North American lesbian women who were born between approximately 1940 and 1965. The life experiences and recollections of North American lesbians of the baby boom cohort reflect the integration of multiple aspects of the self, continually emerging and re-forming across diverse settings. The goal of the chapter is to display the narrative identity processes midlife lesbians—who experience at least three forms of diminished privilege in North American society (being women, older, and of stigmatized sexual orientation)—have used to create lives of meaning and fulfillment. These issues are explored through the lens of a conceptual model created by analyzing narrative data gathered from life story portions that were available in existing literature.

Keywords:   lesbians, gay women, narrative identity theory, lesbian identity, homosexuals, middle-aged women

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