Kath Weston draws upon fieldwork and interviews conducted in the San Francisco Bay area to explore the ways in which gay men and lesbians are constructing their own notions of kinship by drawing on the symbolism of love, friendship and biology. Conventional views of family have depicted gays and lesbians as exiles from the realm of kinship. In recent decades, however, gay men and lesbians have increasingly portrayed themselves as people who seek not only to maintain ties with blood or adoptive relatives but also to establish families of their own. Weston argues that "chosen" families cannot be understood apart from the families in which their members grew up. She presents interviewees' stories of discovering their sexual identities and of their subsequent relations with straight families. She also discusses changes in gay communities that have helped to shape contemporary discourse about the gay families. Finally, she addresses the political implications of chosen families.
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