"Living two lives" and "blending in": reproductive citizenship and belonging in the parenthood narratives of gay men

SOURCE: Queer kinship: South African perspectives on the sexual politics of family-making and belonging
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
TITLE AUTHOR(S): T.Morison, I.Lynch
SOURCE EDITOR(S): T.Morison, I.Lynch, V.Reddy
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10985

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Queeri persons enjoy constitutional protection of their rights in South Africa, yet still encounter a great deal of persistent stigma and discrimination (Human Rights Watch 2011; Msibi 2009). Much of this negativity relates to how those from gender and sexual minority groups ostensibly disrupt the procreative imperative. For the most part, having and raising children remains highly valued, contributing to the positive social identity of capable, selfless and responsible adult, and shaping assumptions of what constitutes full social citizenship. Accordingly, queer persons widely assumed to be childless or incapable of parenthood are positioned as flouting an important normative expectation of gendered personhood: that of being a (biological) parent (Morison & Macleod 2015). Nevertheless, when those other than heterosexual do take up the rights that commonly designate citizenship by becoming parents, they are often maligned and marginalised (Lynch & Morison 2016; Rothmann, 2011) or more generally constructed as a threat to traditional, hetero-patriarchal families (Bernstein & Reiman 2002). This is especially true for gay men, on whom we focus in this chapter.