Skip to main content

Race and Ethnicity in the Lives of Sexual Minority Parents and Their Children

Abstract

In this chapter we review the body of research on racial and sexual minority parenting in the USA and internationally. Findings in this literature point us toward broader conceptualizations of sexual minority parenthood that include stepparenting, kin care, and parenting in the context of heterosexual unions while maintaining a lesbian or gay identity. In addition, these findings challenge scholars to think more inclusively about what issues are relevant to sexual minority parents and children. Issues ranked as important by sexual minority parents themselves, such as welfare and immigration policies, are often neglected in scholarship that focuses disproportionately on parents’ gender and sexuality; this scholarship does not account for race, nationality, or other variance among these families. As much as this review provides important variation in the experiences of sexual minority families, it also challenges the academic community to substantially broaden its scope when studying same-sex parenting. The chapter concludes with directions for future research.

Keywords

  • Sexual Minority
  • Lesbian Mother
  • Transracial Adoption
  • Family Unification
  • Sexual Minority Parent

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-4556-2_9
  • Chapter length: 16 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4614-4556-2
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   74.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Notes

  1. 1.

    We use “sexual minority” to refer to individuals whose sexual relationships and identities are minoritized politically within their societies, families headed by such individuals, and communities formed around this shared minority status. We use more specific terms such as “lesbian,” “gay,” and “Two-Spirit” when citing research about people who use these terms to describe themselves. It should be noted that these are not mutually exclusive categories; for example, in research studies that refer to “LGBT parents,” “T” (transgender and transsexual) parents may also identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (or as some other sexual identity). For demographic information, we rely heavily on U.S. Census data, which classifies partnered households as “same sex” or “heterosexual” based on the gender of the adults living in the home (some caveats about this classification system are offered in our section on International Contexts). While “same-sex households” are often read as lesbian and gay households, it is important to recognize that household members may identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or none of these, and that sexual minorities and gender variant people are found in both same- and different-sex households.

References

  • Aarmo, M. (1999). How homosexuality became ‘un-­African’: The case of Zimbabwe. In E. Blackwood & S. Wieringa (Eds.), Female desires: Same-sex relations and transgender practices across cultures (pp. 255–280). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Asian American Federation of New York. (2004). Asian Pacific American same-sex households: A census report on New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Retrieved from http://www.aafny.org/cic/report/GLReport.pdf

  • Biblarz, T., & Savci, E. (2010). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 480–497. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00714.x

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Biblarz, T., & Stacey, J. (2010). How does the gender of parents matter? Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 3–22. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00678.x

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Billson, J. M. (1995). Keepers of the culture: The power of tradition in women’s lives. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cahill, S. (2010). Black and Latino same-sex couple households and the racial dynamics of antigay activism. In J. Battle & S. Barnes (Eds.), Black sexualities: Probing powers, passions, practices and policies (pp. 243–268). Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cahill, S., Battle, J., & Meyer, D. (2003). Partnering, parenting, and policy: Family issues affecting Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Race and Society, 6, 85–98. doi:10.1016/j.racsoc.2004.11.002

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cahill, S., & Jones, K. T. (2001). Leaving our children behind: Welfare reform and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. New York, NY: Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Retrieved from http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/fact_sheets/WelfareFactSheet.pdf.

  • Campbell, L. A., & Kaufmann, R. L. (2006). Racial differences in household wealth: Beyond black and white. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 24, 131–152. doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2005.06.001

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Chalmers, S. (2002). Emerging lesbian voices from Japan. New York, NY: Routledge.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Choo, H. R., & Ferree, M. M. (2010). Practicing intersectionality in sociological research: A critical analysis of inclusions, interactions, and institutions in the study of inequalities. Sociological Theory, 28, 129–149. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9558.2010.01370.x

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cianciotto, J. (2005). Hispanic and Latino same-sex couple households in the United States: A report from the 2000 Census. New York, NY: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.lgbtracialequity.org/publications/HispanicLatinoHouseholdsUS.pdf

  • Collins, P. H. (2000). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York, NY: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Collins, P. H. (2004). Black sexual politics: African Americans, gender, and the new racism. New York, NY: Routledge.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Connell, R. (2007). Southern theory: Social science and the global dynamics of knowledge. Boston, MA: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dang, A., & Frazer, S. (2004). Black same-sex households in the United States: A report from the 2000 census. New York, NY: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Black Justice Coalition. Retrieved from http://nbjc.org/assets/BCRNationalReport.pdf

  • Dang, A., & Vianney, C. (2007). Living in the margins: A national survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. New York, NY: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/API_ExecutiveSummaryEnglish.pdf

  • Dunne, G. A. (2000). Opting into motherhood: Lesbians blurring the boundaries and transforming the meaning of parenthood and kinship. Gender and Society, 14, 11–35. doi: 10.1177/089124300014001003

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Engebretsen, E. L. (2009). Intimate practices, conjugal ideals: Affective ties and relationship strategies among lala (lesbian) women in contemporary Beijing. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 6, 3–14. doi:10.1525/srsp.2009.6.3.3

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Espiritu, Y. L. (2001). We don’t sleep around like white girls do: Family, culture, and gender in Filipina American lives. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 26, 415–440. doi:10.1086/495599

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Farr, R., & Patterson, C. (2009). Transracial adoption by lesbian, gay, and heterosexual couples: Who completes transracial adoptions and with what results? Adoption Quarterly, 12, 187–204. doi: 10.1080/10926750903313328

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gartrell, N., Banks, A., Hamilton, J., Reed, N., Bishop, H., & Rodas, C. (1999). The National Lesbian Family Study: 2. Interviews with mothers of toddlers. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 69, 362–369. doi:10.1037/h0080410

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gartrell, N., Banks, A., Reed, N., Hamilton, J., Rodas, C., & Deck, A. (2000). The national lesbian family study: 3. Interviews with mothers of five-year-olds. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 70, 542–548. doi:10.1037/h0087823

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gates, G., Lau, H., & Sears, R. B. (2006). Asians and Pacific Islanders in same-sex couples in the United States: Data from census 2000. Amerasia Journal, 32, 15–32.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gilley, B. J. (2006). Becoming two-spirit: Gay identity and social acceptance in Indian country. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Glover, M., McKree, A., & Dyall, L. (2009). Assisted human reproduction: Issues for takatapui (New Zealand indigenous non-heterosexuals). Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 5, 295–311. doi: 10.1080/15504280903263702

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Greene, B. (1997). Ethnic and cultural diversity among lesbians and gay men. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hammonds, E. M. (1997). Toward a genealogy of Black female sexuality: The problematic of silence. In M. J. Alexander & C. T. Mohanty (Eds.), Feminist genealogies, colonial legacies, democratic futures (pp. 170–182). New York, NY: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Herrera, F. (2009). Tradition and transgression: Lesbian motherhood in Chile. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 6, 35–51. doi:10.1525/srsp.2009.6.2.35

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hicks, S. (2011). Lesbian, gay and queer parenting: Families, intimacies, genealogies. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hine, D. C. (1989). Rape and the inner lives of Black women in the Middle West: Preliminary thoughts on the culture of dissemblance. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 14, 912–920. doi:10.1086/494552

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Itzigsohn, J., Cabral, C. D., Medina, E. H., & Vazquez, O. (1999). Mapping Dominican transnationalism: Narrow and broad transnational practices. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 22, 316–339. doi:10.1080/014198799329503

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Lewin, E. (2009). Gay fatherhood: Narratives of family and citizenship in America. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mallon, G. P. (2004). Gay men choosing parenthood. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mays, V., Chatters, L., Cochran, S., & Mackness, J. (1998). African American families in diversity: Gay men and lesbians as participants in family networks. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 29, 73–87. http://soci.ucalgary.ca/jcfs/issues.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meyers, M. K., Han, W. J., Waldfogel, J., & Garfinkel, I. (2001). Child care in the wake of welfare reform: The impact of government subsidies on the economic well-being of single-mother families. The Social Service Review, 75, 29–59. doi: 10.1086/591881

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Moore, M. R. (2008). Gendered power relations among women: A study of household decision making in Black, lesbian stepfamilies. American Sociological Review, 73, 335–356. doi: 10.1177/000312240807300208

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Moore, M. R. (2011a). Invisible families: Gay identities, relationships, and motherhood among Black women. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moore, M. R. (2011b). Two sides of the same coin: Revising analyses of lesbian sexuality and family formation through the study of Black women. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 15, 58–68. doi:10.1080/10894160.2010.508412

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Moore, M. R. (2012). Intersectionality and the study of Black, sexual minority women. Gender and Society, 26, 33–39. doi:10.1177/0891243211427031

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Morris, J. F., Balsam, K. F., & Rothblum, E. D. (2002). Lesbian and bisexual mothers and nonmothers: Demographics and the coming-out process. Journal of Family Psychology, 16, 144–156. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.16.2.144

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Moss, A. R. (2012). Alternative families, alternative lives: Married women doing bisexuality. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 8.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oliver, M., & Shapiro, T. (1997). Black wealth/white wealth: A new perspective on racial inequality. New York, NY: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Passel, J. S., & Cohn, D. V. (2008). US population projections, 2005–2050. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/85.pdf

  • Patterson, C. J. (1995). Lesbian mothers, gay fathers, and their children. In A. R. D’Augelli & C. J. Patterson (Eds.), Lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities over the lifespan: Psychological perspectives (pp. 262–290). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Pfeffer, C. (2010). ‘Women’s work’? Women partners of transgender men doing housework and emotion work. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 165–183. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00690.x

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Potgieter, C. A. (2003). Black South African lesbians: Discourses on motherhood and women’s roles. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 7, 135–151. doi:10.1300/J155v07n03_10

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Quiroz, P. (2007). Adoption in a color-blind society. Lanhan, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Google Scholar 

  • Richardson, H. B., & Goldberg, A. E. (2010). The ­intersection of multiple minority statuses: Perspec­tives of White lesbian couples adopting racial minority children. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 31, 340–353. doi:10.1375/anft.31.4.340

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Romero, V. (2005). Asians, gay marriage, and immigration: Family unification at a crossroads. Indiana International & Comparative Law Review, 15, 337–347.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rosenfeld, M. J. (2010). Nontraditional families and childhood progress through school. Demography, 47, 755–775. doi:10.1353/dem.0.0112

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ryan-Flood, R. (2009). Lesbian motherhood: Gender, families and sexual citizenship. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Samuels, G. M. (2009). ‘Being raised by white people’: Navigating racial difference among adopted multiracial adults. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 80–94. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00581.x

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Silvera, M. (1995). Confronting the ‘I’ in the eye: Black mother, Black daughters. In K. Arnup (Ed.), Lesbian parenting: Living with pride and prejudice (pp. 311–320). Charlottetown, NS: Gynergy Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spencer, M. B. (1983). Children’s cultural values and parental child rearing strategies. Developmental Review, 3, 351–370. doi:10.1016/0273-2297(83)90020-5

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Spencer, M. B., & Markstrom-Adams, C. (1990). Identity processes among racial and ethnic minority children in America. Child Development, 61, 290–310. doi:10.2307/1131095

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Sullivan, M. (2004). The family of woman: Lesbian mothers, their children, and the undoing of gender. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Swarr, A. L., & Nagar, R. (2003). Dismantling assumptions: Interrogating ‘lesbian’ struggles for identity and survival in India and South Africa. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 29, 491–516. doi:10.1086/378573

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Vidal de Haymes, M., Kilty, K. M., & Segal, E. A. (2000). Latino poverty in the new century: Inequalities, challenges, and barriers. London, UK: Haworth Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Viladrich, A., & Loue, S. (2009). Minority identity ­development. In S. Loue (Ed.), Sexualities and identities of minority women (pp. 1–18). New York, NY: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Washington, T. (2008). Throwing Black babies out with the bathwater: A child-centered challenge to same-sex adoption bans. Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal, 6, 1–54.http://www.raceandpoverty.org/journal/

  • Wekker, G. (2006). The politics of passion: Women’s sexual culture in the Afro-Surinamese diaspora. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilhelmus, M. (1998). Mediation in kinship care: Another step in the provision of culturally relevant child welfare services. Social Work, 43, 117–126.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgment

The first author received support for this work from the University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Health Improvement of Minority Elderly/Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research, under NIH/NIA Grant P30-AG02-1684.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mignon R. Moore Ph.D. .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Moore, M.R., Brainer, A. (2013). Race and Ethnicity in the Lives of Sexual Minority Parents and Their Children. In: Goldberg, A., Allen, K. (eds) LGBT-Parent Families. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-4556-2_9

Download citation