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The Gay Agenda

Claiming Space, Identity, and Justice


Gerald Walton

The «gay agenda» is a rhetorical strategy deployed by the religious right and other social conservatives to magnify fear and hostility of queers. Queers are accused, among other things, of strategizing to recruit children into sexually deviant lifestyles; dismantling family and marriage as cornerstones of civilization; and forcing the entertainment industry and court systems to do their bidding. Queers certainly do have an agenda but it is not the one that the religious right claims it is. It is to assert their presence in the public space; claim and name their identities; and strategize for social justice in law, schools, and workplaces. The Gay Agenda: Claiming Space, Identity, and Justice claims and reclaims the language of «agenda» and turns the rhetoric of the religious right on its ear. The contributors provide insightful and sharp commentary on gay agendas for human rights, marriage and family, cultural influences, schooling and education, and politics and law.
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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

Michelle Walks

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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