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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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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Making Family

Making Family

Origin Narratives and Stratified Reproduction

(p.79) 3 Making Family
Queering Family Trees

Sandra Patton-Imani

Sandra Patton-Imani

NYU Press

I explore lesbian mothers’ narratives of pregnancy, birth, and adoption in relation to the fertility and adoption industries. I use the stories of these mothers to explore the scaffolding of power regulating motherhood, and the ways that it varies from state to state, as well as the conflictual terrain of public representations of lesbian-headed families. Stratified reproduction between lesbians and heterosexual women, and between lesbians of different races and socioeconomic statuses, fundamentally shaped these mothers’ family-making experiences. Whatever their responses to mainstream expectations regarding motherhood, their family-making practices were articulated and evaluated—by themselves and others in their social worlds—in reference to heteronormative social practices. Whether rejected or embraced, pervasive mainstream representations of motherhood and family shaped responses and social interactions. Laws and policies also shaped the ways that families were formed and understood, yet families carved out creative family structures and understandings of kinship relations.

Keywords:   Stratified reproduction, Pregnancy, Birth, Adoption, Fertility, Motherhood, Power, Kinship, Race, Socioeconomic status

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