Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals Becoming Parents or Remaining Childfree Confronting Social Inequalities Synopsis
This book recognizes that intense public battles are being waged in the U.S. over the rights of LGB people to form legally and culturally recognized families. Their families are under a kind of sociopolitical scrutiny at this historical moment that compels us all to take stock of our strategies of family-building and, more broadly, the meaning of family in the U.S. today. Through in-depth, open-ended, qualitative interviews with 61 self-identified lesbian, gay, and bisexual people regarding how they came to have children or remain childless/childfree, this book reveals the challenges posed by homophobia and discrimination and showcases the creative strategies, resilience, and resourcefulness of lesbians, bisexuals, and gays as they build families (with or without children) after coming out. From descriptions of how the early process of coming out affected the desire to parent or remain childfree, to stories about the impact of homophobia and discrimination on the decision-making process, to the dynamics within couples that lead to becoming parents or remaining childfree, to examining how cultural notions of the strength of biology are employed when having children, to accounts of how the closet can be used strategically when bringing children into a family, their voices form the heart of this book. In a sociopolitical context in which gay, lesbian, and bisexual people often have to struggle to access the array of rights and opportunities that are afforded to most heterosexual people without question, addressing the questions raised in this book is an urgent and necessary endeavor.
Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals Becoming Parents or Remaining Childfree Confronting Social Inequalities Press Reviews
Bergstrom-Lynch has written an insightful and well-researched book on some gay men's and lesbians' pathways into parenthood. One of the most refreshing aspects of her research and approach is that she focuses not only on individuals' and couples' processes toward becoming parents, but on voluntarily opting out of parenthood or remaining childfree as a matter of circumstance as well. Whether you view twenty-first century queer spawn as a gayby boom or gayby doom, you'll find plenty of fresh perspectives and food for thought in the narratives Bergstrom-Lynch presents and analyzes.--Carla A. Pfeffer, University of South Carolina Bergstrom-Lynch offers a compelling and important examination of how gay and lesbian couples decide to remain childless or become parents. Through extensive quoting of in-depth interviews, she captures the complexities that LGB couples face and the strategies they develop to combat institutional inequalities, reproductive obstacles and adoptive challenges. These rainbow strategists draw upon a cultural tool kit of queer empowerment rooted in the gay rights movement.--Rosanna Hertz, author of Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women are Choosing Parenthood without Marriage and Creating the New American Family Deciding to have children is intensely personal and, as Cara Bergstrom-Lynch highlights, also historically and socially shaped. This carefully researched book delves into the stories lesbians, gays, and bisexuals tell about choosing to parent (or not) and how they chose their particular paths to parenthood or nonparenthood. The deeply moving accounts are presented with rich analysis so as to paint a complex picture of the work it takes people to construct their rainbow families. --Karin A. Martin, University of Michigan In 2004-2005, sociologist Bergstrom-Lynch interviewed 61 mostly white LGBT individuals from Michigan and Massachusetts about children and parenthood. All were in committed relationships; about half were parents, half were child-free. The current 'gayby boom' was then underway, and Bergstrom-Lynch quizzed her subjects about why they wanted or did not want children, their joint decision-making processes, their strategies to acquire children, and their concerns about public reactions to their LGBT parenthood and abuse their children might face. As LGBT stigma has faded and same-sex marriage declared legal, she speculates whether the recent mainstreaming of LGBT families serves to maintain conventional American expectations of persons, marriage, and parenthood. She certainly documents Americans' preference for biologically related children over adoption among gay and straight alike. Despite social pressure to parent, many LGBT couples still remain content to dote on nieces and nephews or dogs and cats. Book chapters feature numerous extracts from interview transcripts that support Bergstrom-Lynch's analysis.... Anyone contemplating LGBT parenthood will benefit from the personal experiences and insights documented here. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.--CHOICE