The main concern in this thesis is the portrayal of gay parents in American media with a particular focus on the television shows The L Word and Modern Family.
Looking at how the lesbian and gay male parents are portrayed in terms of gender, community and family relations, the thesis finds that the characters are portrayed through conventional gender roles even though they are homosexual. In this way, the lesbian parents, Bette and Tina, and the gay male parents, Cameron and Mitchell perform gender in a way that is recognizable to a mainstream heterosexual audience. However, both The L Word and Modern Family challenge the heteronormative family constellation by being homosexual and in that respect the characters “queer” the essentialist belief that gender and sex is ingrained in nature. The untraditional families are portrayed as “normal,” in the sense that they are conventional in appearance and in behavior, and that they are portrayed as being predominantly accepted in society. This creates a familiarity to the heterosexual norm and possibly a greater acceptability of untraditional family constellations in society.