The traditional Borg greeting, that ‘resistance is futile’ will be familiar not just to ‘Trekkies’ but much more generally, as this phrase has come to encapsulate the hegemonic approach to ‘resistance’ in contemporary society. A generic Google search on the phrase ‘resistance is futile’ provides links to nearly 800,000 web pages; a Google Scholar search, over 100,000. While it may be interesting to debate why this phrase has been ‘assimilated’ into popular culture in the two decades since its first use in Star Trek: The Next Generation,1

such an analysis is outside the remit of this book. More relevant here is to consider these themes of assimilation and resistance in relation to the lesbian and gay equality struggles that have been my focus throughout this book. A recurring theme in the academic literature on same-sex marriage has been the tension between whether arguing for inclusion in a heteronormative institution will either transform the nature of marriage (see e.g. Harding, 2007; Hunter, 1992; Peel & Harding, 2004) or simply assimilate lesbians and gay men into heteronormative ways of living (see e.g. Barker, 2008; Clarke, 2003; Polikoff, 1993). Similarly, lesbian and gay parents have to contend with the spectre of the heteronormative family, particularly when it comes to providing evidence of appropriately gendered role models for their children (Clarke & Kitzinger, 2005), or dealing with heteronormative representations of the ideal family (Gavigan, 1995). The different texts that have informed the empirical analysis presented

in this book highlight that, even following the recent shifts in the positive legal recognition and regulation of lesbian and gay family lives, the issues of assimilation, transformation and resistance remain key to understanding lesbian and gay equality struggles. It has been my aim to explore, situate and interrogate the experience of these legal and social developments in the everyday lives of lesbians and gay men. I have demonstrated that the regulation of sexuality through the legal recognition of same-sex relationships and families

is not without tensions, and that achieving legal and social equality for lesbian and gay families requires more than straightforward inclusion in heteronormative legal institutions. Attaining formal legal equality is and must be a mainstay of lesbian and gay equality struggles, but it cannot and does not represent the end of the road for lesbian and gay social movements. Throughout this book, I have been telling stories about law; I have told

stories about how lesbians and gay men think about relationship recognition, stories about experiences of being and becoming a parent, stories about power and stories about resistance, stories about equality and stories about legal consciousness. In this final chapter, I want to tell a slightly different tale of law: my own stories of law, legal consciousness, relationship recognition, parenting and resistance. As with all research, I bring my own identity and experiences to this project – my sexuality, my relationship status, my experience, my future hopes and plans. My aim here, therefore, is to reflect on my own ‘legal consciousness’, to examine how I, the researcher, have been influenced by the stories I have recounted, and to interrogate my own attitudes to, perceptions and understandings of law and the recent legal developments in the regulation of lesbian and gay lives.