Tradition and transgression: Lesbian motherhood in chile


This article reports on a study that explored how Chilean lesbians perceive and carry out motherhood. Lesbian mothering is a reflexive project in which lesbians must question issues that heterosexual women take for granted. For lesbian women in Chile, having a child involves not only exerting great effort and imagination but also bucking social expectations. Homosexuals in Chile live under the heterosexual assumption (an institutionalized rejection of homosexuality) and continually face the possibility of discrimination. Consequently, lesbians who undertake maternity especially experience feelings of fear and vulnerability. The author addresses topics including (a) the intersection of the traditional identity—mother—and the transgressive identity—lesbian; (b) lesbians’ choice of the method used to achieve motherhood (i.e., sexual intercourse, artificial insemination, or adoption); and (c) how lesbian couples organize mothering and what the nonbiological mother’s position is in the family. The author concludes that in the construction of their families, Chilean lesbians combine tradition with transgression.

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Correspondence to Florencia Herrera.

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Herrera, F. Tradition and transgression: Lesbian motherhood in chile. Sex Res Soc Policy 6, 35 (2009).

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Key words

  • homosexuality
  • family
  • kinship
  • biology
  • artificial insemination
  • adoption