Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 583–599 | Cite as

Vanishing Act: Non-straight Identity Narratives of Women in Relationships with Women and Men



This research examines how women who experience a change to a partner of a different gender make sense of this shift both to themselves and to others. Specifically, the study draws on 32 interviews conducted with self-identified lesbian, bisexual and queer women who have moved from relationships with female partners to relationships with male partners. None of the women interviewed sought to identify themselves as straight or heterosexual. Many, instead, tried to negotiate non-straight identities. We conclude that women, in doing their non-straight identities, mainly rely upon a strategy of narrative, including narratives of attraction, choice of men and challenging homophobia.


Sexuality Narratives Identity 



We thank the participants who so generously shared their stories with us. This research was made possible by a dissertation fellowship from the Charles P. Taft Research Center, University of Cincinnati. We thank David Smilde, Rebecca Hanson, and the anonymous reviewers, at Qualitative Sociology. We also thank the following colleagues for their useful insights: Steve Carlton-Ford, Erynn Masi de Casanova, Stephan Groschwitz, Jaime McCauley and Rhys H. Williams.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and SociologyColumbia CollegeColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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