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A step in the pink direction : the intersection of national, familial and sexual identity in Canada Johnson, Toni A. M.

Abstract

This thesis explores the intersecting grounds of national, familial and sexual identity in Canada. Each of the three grounds is concentrically connected and therefore feeds and formulates the composition of the other. The thesis considers the ramifications of lesbian and gay inclusion within the family from a queer perspective using anti-essentialist postmodern and feminist theory as tools of deconstruction. Immigration Canada has recently changed the composition of the 'family class' within immigration law to include lesbians and gay men. I consider how this shift in definition affects lesbians and gay men and lesbian and gay families in terms of sexual identity bearing on familial identity, and familial identity bearing on national identity. The connections begin by considering a deconstructed version of national identity. National identity from a legal perspective has been formulated predominantly on a basis of white, heterosexual masculinity. By highlighting the incoherence and alterity that exists within the formulation of a stereotypical nationalist narrative of identity, we are able to identify the fallacious basis of nationalistic constructs of identity. Feeding this national identity has been a construct of the family, a fundamental unit of society, which has not represented the multiplicitous formation that family can take. The family as the place within society that produces a national populace has been undergoing some profound changes to its composition. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has disallowed exclusively heterosexual constructs of the family to remain the only model of familial existence. The sexual redefinition of the conventional family by the inclusion of lesbians and gay men therefore has the ability to deconstruct our notions surrounding issues of gendered and sexually specified roles within the family.

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