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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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What about the Children?

What about the Children?

Genealogies of Illegitimacy and Reproductive Injustice, 1990–2000

(p.109) 4 What about the Children?
Queering Family Trees

Sandra Patton-Imani

Sandra Patton-Imani

NYU Press

I consider the political context of family-making in the “family values” era of the 1990s. I explore public controversies over the children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman (1989) in relation to political discourse on race, gender, and family values in the 1990s. I consider parallel discussions of motherhood, fitness, and citizenship in public discussions about same-sex marriage, social welfare benefits, disability, and immigration. I explore changes in adoption policies as a strategy for neoliberal privatization. Considering these public narratives about “illegitimate,” “illegal,” and “unfit” mothers and children together illuminates intersecting axes of power regulating their access to the full range of citizenship rights, including race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, and gender. Exploring this political moment is crucial to understanding the complex and contradictory ways the same-sex marriage and adoption debates are intimately connected to reproductive politics.

Keywords:   Family values, Welfare, Immigration, Adoption, Transracial adoption, Illegitimacy, Illegal, Invalid, Child welfare, Race

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