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Queering Family TreesRace, Reproductive Justice, and Lesbian Motherhood$
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Sandra Patton-Imani

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479865567

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479865567.001.0001

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Family Legibility and Legitimate Citizenship

(p.1) Introduction
Queering Family Trees

Sandra Patton-Imani

NYU Press

I begin this book with the story of my spouse and I essentially being kicked out of the Des Moines YMCA for being lesbians. I use this narrative to introduce the ways relationships between social and legal definitions of “legitimate” family are used to regulate access to social rights and resources. The most pervasive stories in public dialogues about families headed by lesbians and gay men at the turn of the twenty-first century suggest that legalizing same-sex marriage should be either the panacea for all the constitutional vulnerabilities of queer citizenship, or the downfall of civilization due to the crumbling of the institution of marriage. I argue that the construction of lesbian-headed families should be explored in the context of other arenas of social policy, including adoption, immigration, and welfare. I discuss my family’s location in this research.

Keywords:   Legitimacy, Legibility, Lesbians, Family, Same-sex marriage, adoption

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