Claiming Space, Identity, and Justice
Edited By Gerald Walton
7. Raising Queerlings: Parenting With a Queer Art of Failure, by Michelle Walks
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Raising Queerlings: Parenting With a Queer Art of Failure
Between February 2011 and April 2012, I conducted research in British Columbia focused on butch lesbians, transmen, and genderqueer individuals’ experiences with pregnancy and infertility. Parenting queerly was not a topic I had explicitly set out to research, and yet narratives of parenting “queerlings”—my partner’s term for children of queers, including our own—were prevalent. When I read J. Halberstam’s The Queer Art of Failure (2011) a few months after having conducted my final interview, I found resonance between Halberstam’s theory and the narratives of those I had interviewed. The timeliness of both my research and The Queer Art of Failure are significant; we now live in a culture where neoliberalism, neoconservatism, and homonormativity have particular ways of defining success, and queerness in this context is usually regarded negatively and as failure. Drawing from the interviews I conducted with parents, and Halberstam’s theory of “the queer art of failure,” I focus on examples of queer parents in British Columbia who have “a gay agenda” that explicitly challenges patriarchal hetero- and homo-normative ideals.1 In particular, I focus on the narratives (and “agendas”) of four butch lesbian and/or genderqueer parents who chose to experience pregnancy in order to become parents.
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