Gay and Lesbian Families: Queer like Us-Judith Stacey
• 1960s-1970s movement for gays was against evils and injustices faced in the family
rather than for access to its blessings and privilege.
o Gays and Lesbians today have their own pro-family movement.
• Gay families produce “emotional threat” when non-gay families realize they can also
participate in a typical family life.
• “gay and lesbian families” will become irrelevant If non gay population could get used to
• Prior to 1969, gay and lesbian families were so invisible legally/socially that one can date
the appearance of the first identifiable species of gay family life.
• Gay custody conflicts jumped to 50 in the 1970s, more than ever before
o Courts denied parental rights to gay families-became martyrs to a cause made
visible by their losses.
• Formerly married gay and lesbian parents who came out after marriage and secured
custody of children represent most significant genre of gay families
o First challenge against antitheticalness of gay and parent.
• First wave of “out” lesbians joined sexual revolution and feminist assertions of female
o Popularization of alternative reproductive technologies
• Lesbian planned parenthood strategies spread in the last two decades/ construct their
chosen family forms choosing motherhood within a broad array of kinship structures
o Independent adoption because several states prohibit adoptions/foster care to
gay families or discriminate against them.
o Pursue heterosexual sexual activity for sperm
o Alternative insemination strategies
Institutionalized Heterosexism and married couple bias in medically
controlled fertility market/won’t inseminate single women/lesbians
o Use semen from personal networks-child rearing with gay men
o One partner will take semen from male relative to impregnate other partner
–“turkery-baster babies” • Lack of National Health system in US commercializes access to sperm and fertility
o Creates a class bias in practicing insemination
• Joint recognition of lesbian couple; ovum of one women fertilized with doner sperm was
placed into partners uterus for pregnancy. June 2000
• Advent of AIDS stimulated gay men to keener interest in forming families
• “Save the Children” campaign specifically denied gay parents the right to adopt or foster
o Private adoptions/surrogacy arrangements
• Because the ties do not have legal protection; there were custody conflicts between the
gay semen donors and lesbian surrogates that were providing children for each other
o All judges were bias and shifted towards heterosexual family
• Struggle for second parent adoption rights; enables a lesbian or gay man to adopt a
lovers child without removing the lovers; custody rights.
• Gay and lesbian families became a pop culture sensation
• Institutions like major corporations, universities, non profit organizations are providing
spousal benefits to the domestic mates of their gay employees
• Bills passed in the US (starting with UTAH) that refused recognizing same sex marriages
• Defense of Marriage Act; defined marriage on heterosexual terms valid only and was
signed by President Clinton
• Some gay activists don’t push towards legalizing gay marriage because they want to
dismantle the entire hierarchal conservative institution
• They support legal marriage as a long term goal but it isn’t a priority
o Fear that a Premature victory=backlash
o Struggle for family diversity
• Liberal gays support legal marriage on the matter of equal civil rights