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Although South Africa's Parliament has passed more than 30 progressive laws that include the protection and recognition of LGBTI people, since 1994 there is still a great amount of stigmatization of the homosexual way of life.
Despite equality in terms of the law, lesbian relationships are assumed to be inferior to heterosexual relationships because they are not conventional and are plagued by stereotypes and misconceptions.
The study outlines a variety of stressors as potential sources of conflict for lesbian couples thus contributing to building understanding of the dynamics of lesbian intimate unions.
Additionally, in response to homophobic conceptions, the women reveal particular ways of representing themselves and their relationships.
These discourses are outlined and explored.
This study contributes to the growing body of literature on homosexuality, serving to counteract stereotypes and shed light on the dynamics specific to lesbian relationships.
It highlights systemic, contextual, familial and intimate issues and the ways in which gay women contend with them.
Angela Ochse, MSocSci with specialization in gender studies.
University of Pretoria.
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