Tag: Queer

Queer couples marry before Amy Coney Barrett takes Supreme Court seat

queer couples marry before Amy Coney Barrett confirmation

16 queer couples got married at St Louis City Hall before Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation. (FOX2now)

Queer couples in America are racing to get married before before far-right nominee Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the US Supreme Court, fearing she could roll back marriage equality.

Anti-LGBT+ Catholic judge Amy Coney Barrett is expected to be confirmed to the Supreme Court on Monday (October 26), with the Republican controlled Senate rushing through the appointment of the Trump nominee just one week before the presidential election on November 3.

Barrett’s anti-LGBT+ record, including her membership of the Catholic group People of Praise which kicks members out for having gay sex and her ties to listed anti-LGBT+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, has sparked fears that she could roll back marriage equality when she is appointed to the Supreme Court.

In response, Tori Jameson, a non-binary, queer, sex-positive pastor who serves the LGBT+ community in St Louis, Missouri, decided to do something while there was still time.

They said: “She has made statements against Roe, against immigration. I worry about our rights being rolled back if she gets in. But I don’t have a lot of political power. I’m just a community pastor.”

According to them., Jameson offered “pop-up elopements” to the local queer community at St Louis City Hall, allowing couples to tie the knot “while [they] still have the chance”.

The four days of free wedding ceremonies saw 16 queer couples get married, while florists, bakers, photographers and other vendors offered their services for free.

Jameson added: “We are going to take care of our own. You can be hateful, but there is an opportunity here to celebrate love and be joyful.”

Fears are mounting among the queer community that the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett could undo marriage equality.

On October 4, a week after Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett, two conservative Supreme Court justices launched a chilling attack on the 2015 equal marriage ruling.

Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito wrote in a statement that Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that legalised same-sex marriage in all 50 states, had “ruinous consequences for religious liberty”.

“Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other anti-discrimination laws,” the pair wrote.

“It would be one thing if recognition for same-sex marriage had been debated and adopted through the democratic process, with the people deciding not to provide statutory protections for religious liberty under state law.

“But it is quite another when the court forces that choice upon society through its creation of atextual constitutional rights and its ungenerous interpretation of the free exercise clause, leaving those with religious objections in the lurch.”

Chase Strangio of the ACLU explained that the statement suggests the justices “are eager to overturn Obergefell already — even though it is only five years old”.

He added: “The brazenness of the rightward direction of the court is a threat to even the most basic expectation of legal protection. What we can expect is the continued erosion of legal protections gained over the past century.”

Six Queer Travel Destinations – Purple Roofs

rainbow flag - pixabay

rainbow flag - pixabay

Now that more countries are opening back up for travel and fun, it is time to start planning your next vacation. There is no shortage of amazing queer travel destinations, all packed with a welcoming vibe and loads of exciting activities to keep you busy during your stay. Here are six of the best queer travel destinations to consider for your adventure.

Explore the Birthplace of a Nation in Boston

As the capital of the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage, it is no surprise that Boston is an exceptionally queer-friendly travel location. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the country by traversing the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, featuring 16 historical sites that shaped the character of this nation. Boston also boasts an eclectic dining scene, great shopping opportunities, and charming neighborhoods that are begging to be explored. Bean Town is also known for being the birthplace of GLAD, affirming its spot as a city that is exceptionally friendly to queers.

Set Sail on a Cruise

Hit the high seas on a cruise for the ultimate balance of relaxation and exciting outdoor recreational opportunities. One of the best things about a cruise is that you can choose your itinerary and duration to fit your specific needs and preferences. For example, a Mediterranean cruise is perfect for those travelers who want to experience some of the most historically significant sites on the planet while also soaking up the warm sun any time of the year. Many cruise lines also offer specific sailings dedicated to the queer crowd, making it easy for you to connect with like-minded travelers and meet new friends.

Adventure of a Lifetime in Cape Town, South Africa

If you want something truly exotic, consider a trip to Cape Town, South Africa. This multicultural destination is a favorite for the queer population. The high-energy nightclubs, diverse cuisine, and stunning arts and cultural scene make this city a winner. This cosmopolitan city is the second-largest metropolitan area in Africa. Cape Town is also one of the best cities in the world to partake in Pride Week events, offering a variety of parades and festivals. After you have had enough of the city vibe, you can escape to the savannah for an African safari. There is nothing quite like Cape Town.

Immerse Yourself in the Cultural Melting Pot of Miami

You will not be disappointed in a trip to the gem of South Florida. Miami’s famous gay scene makes it a natural choice for your next queer-friendly vacation. Relax on South Beach during the day and then head to the sizzling nightclubs that line Collins Avenue at night. The city even boasts its own gay beach. Be sure to leave time to indulge in the authentic Cuban food and fresh seafood.

Soak Up the Sun and the Surf in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This Mexican seaside resort town boasts stunning beaches, a lively nightlife scene, and color around every corner. Located along the Pacific Coast, you will enjoy endless sunshine and a host of outdoor recreational opportunities. Puerto Vallarta is distinguished as being one of the most gay-friendly resort towns in the world. The city has won multiple awards for its status as being a destination that is incredibly welcoming to the queer population. You will find accommodations in a variety of price points, making it easy to find a place to fit your budget and your personal tastes.

Leave Your Heart in San Francisco

No list of queer travel destinations is complete without mentioning San Francisco. This iconic city by the bay proudly boasts its status as America’s first gay headquarters. Take a spin on a trolley car, shop the stores along Fisherman’s Wharf, and nosh on clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls. For the ultimate queer experience, make your headquarters the famed Castro District. Here you will find the legendary Castro Theatre, regularly featuring shows that cater to a gay and queer audience. You will never feel more affirmed than when visiting San Francisco.

Stoke the fires of your wanderlust by choosing one of these six fabulous travel destinations. You owe it to yourself to choose a destination that will allow you to embrace and celebrate your queerness.

Get the Fainting Couch for Chika’s Queer R&B Love Songs

Get the Fainting Couch for Chika's Queer R&B Love Songs

I’ll be honest with you, I have my period today and it sucks. BUT! I found so many interesting and amazing things for us to read! So… win-win?


Queer as in F*ck You

Last week I told you that I consider Chase Strangio to be one of the brightest queer, trans legal minds of our generation and a key player in the legal future of our rights. Well, this very fancy New Yorker profile highlights just a little of the reasons why: Chase Strangio’s Victories for Transgender Rights

This also got mentioned in yesterday’s Pop Culture Fix, but Demi Lovato Reveals Which Movie Made Her Realize She’s Queer. I’ll give you a hint:

Two Animal Lovers Meet at a Tiki Bar. If you’re a regular reader of this link round up, you know that occasionally I just can’t stop myself from posting gay wedding announcements or photos. I don’t know what it is, tbh. When there’s a straight wedding announcement, I roll my eyes and click my teeth. Perhaps it’s because the straights never shout out baby squirrels, karaoke, and a Tiki Bar, who knows?

Chika performed her single “U Should” in an exclusive premiere on Desus & Mero and by the time she got to the line, “I fall in love with constants / Girl, that’s you / I need a rider, I’ll be your provider”… I was absolutely ready to risk it all.


Saw This, Thought of You

The United States of Dolly Parton. Amen.

Highly relatable content! 25 Famous Women on Crying

Is There a Safe Way to Go Home for the Holidays?

Megan Thee Stallion: Why I Speak Up for Black Women. THEE Stallion in The New York Times!?!? Holy shit! Also(also.also.) — watch the attached video in that link and thank me later.

Most everyone here will be going gaga for Gillian Anderson, but I gasped so hard at Princess Diana in that dress that I nearly sucked all the air out of my living room:


Political Snacks

I’ve been avoiding the senate confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett with everything that I have. If you’re in the same boat (or if you’ve been hanging on to every word and stress eating Doritos), here’s some smart reading:

Kamala Harris’s Ambition Trap. It includes a linguistic history of the word “bitch” in American politics, which I loved and was horrified by in equal measure.

Education Dept Puts Anti-LGBTQ Activist At Head Of Diversity And Inclusion Council. Listen OK. This is what happens because elections have consequences and we are 21 days from the next one. Vote. And then make sure someone else is voting, too.

Speaking of which, here’s a helpful lil chart from The New York Times: How Quickly Will Your Absentee Vote Be Counted? A State-by-State Timeline

Late Breaking WHAT THE F*CK!?!?

And here’s the link.

Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle’s Deputy Editor and a black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 230 articles for us.

Anti-masker calls 9-1-1 to claim discrimination; queer shopkeeper becomes viral hero / Queerty

Anti-masker calls 9-1-1 to claim discrimination; queer shopkeeper becomes viral

Aidan Bearpaw. KESQ screenshot.

Viral footage taken by a pet shop attendant in Palm Springs, California has gone viral after it recorded a maskless woman calling 9-1-1 to report discrimination. The shop attended refused to let her in the store without a mask.

Aidan Bearpaw, a queer employee at the Bones-N-Scones pet store posted the video to social media following the encounter last week. In it, the woman claims she can’t wear a mask because of anxiety, and threatens to call the police if Bearpaw refuses to let her in the store without one.

“As per the 1964 Civil Rights Act, I cannot be discriminated against,” the woman rants. “I do have a right to breathe O2 not CO2 and I am being discriminated against right now. I have a religious exemption right and a God-given right to breathe O2 not CO2. Yes, medical exemption too.”

Related: WATCH: In a sea of Karens, meet the “anti-Karen”

Bearpaw had the good sense to know that the woman didn’t have her facts correct, and refused to let her in. She eventually left after calling 9-1-1 and being told by a dispatcher that she needed to obey a city-wide mask mandate. Unfortunately, Bearpaw encountered the police again the following day after the woman dialed 9-1-1 again, apparently furious at footage of the encounter going viral.

“She was feeling the public backlash and dispatched police on me again,” Bearpaw told The New York Post. “My bosses were initially furious. It was very possible I was going to be fired. My co-workers were all very supportive and made it clear there would be consequences if I was terminated.”

Fortunately, Bearpaw’s superiors eventually came around after he became a local celebrity, drawing more customers into the store to congratulate and even take pictures of him. His manager, Jay Smith, later commended Bearpaw as “a shining example of how just doing what’s right, standing your ground, overcomes [stupidity and harasament].”

“Aiden won for all of us,” Smith told local news station KESQ. “He didn’t just win for Bones-N-Scones, he won for the city of Palm Springs, for the United States and for humanity in general.”

Here’s hoping Aiden gets a raise for his good sense.

Pop Culture Fix: Kristen Stewart Knows She Was Cagey About Being Queer, She Just Needed a Dang Minute

Pop Culture Fix: Kristen Stewart Knows She Was Cagey About

Well and hello again! This morning I am making our team rank lesbian hauntings, so stay tuned for that later this week — in the meantime, please enjoy this Pop Culture Fix. 


+ I really love this interview between Kristen Stewart and Clea DuVall in In Style; I think you will like it too!

The first time I ever dated a girl, I was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian. And it’s like, “God, I’m 21 years old.” I felt like maybe there were things that have hurt people I’ve been with. Not because I felt ashamed of being openly gay but because I didn’t like giving myself to the public, in a way. It felt like such thievery. This was a period of time when I was sort of cagey. Even in my previous relationships, which were straight, we did everything we could to not be photographed doing things — things that would become not ours. So I think the added pressure of representing a group of people, of representing queerness, wasn’t something I understood then. Only now can I see it. Retrospectively, I can tell you I have experience with this story. But back then I would have been like, “No, I’m fine. My parents are fine with it. Everything’s fine.” That’s bullshit. It’s been hard. It’s been weird. It’s that way for everyone.

+ Also, she’s answering your fan mail!

+ Janelle Monáe closes the first season of Lovecraft Country with a virtual reality concert experience.

+ The AV Club made a list of 14 shows that should do animated episodes and some of your faves sure are on there.

+ Demi Lovato reveals the exact moment she knew she was queer.

+ The cast of GLOW reunited to talk about voting and their show’s unceremonious cancellation.

+ Dove Cameron says Liv from her Disney Channel series Liv and Maddie was bisexual.

+ Whoopi says she WILL make Sister Act 3! (Oh, happy day!)

+ 🙂

+ Here’s a Dickinson season two trailer for you, and also news that the series has been confirmed for season three!

+ The Social Justice Now Film Festival will feature Michael B. Jordan’s Just Mercy and Fruitvale Station on opening night at Paramount’s Drive-In Theater.

+ Please enjoy Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters set from New Yorker Fest.

+ Your first look at Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of The Prom is here!

+ Kate Mulgrew will play Captain Janeway again on a Nickelodeon Star Trek cartoon!

Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She’s a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1029 articles for us.

Author and Queer Mom Jacqueline Woodson Named a 2020 MacArthur Fellow

Author and Queer Mom Jacqueline Woodson Named a 2020 MacArthur

Author Jaqueline Woodson yesterday was named one of the winners of this year’s MacArthur “genius grants”—one of at least three queer moms ever to win the accolade.

Jacqueline Woodson - Photo Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Jacqueline Woodson – Photo Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Fellowship, as the grant is officially known, is a “no-strings-attached,” $625,000 grant “for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more.” The MacArthur Foundation says of Woodson:

Jacqueline Woodson is a writer redefining children’s and young adult literature in works that reflect the complexity and diversity of the world we live in while stretching young readers’ intellectual abilities and capacity for empathy. In nearly thirty publications that span picture books, young adult novels, and poetry, Woodson crafts stories about Black children, teenagers, and families that evoke the hopefulness and power of human connection even as they tackle difficult issues such as the history of slavery and segregation, incarceration, interracial relationships, social class, gender, and sexual identity.

Woodson served as Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2015 to 17 and the National Ambassador for Children’s Literature from 2018 to 19. This past May, she won the Hans Christian Andersen Award, “the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children’s books.” She has also won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature, the Margaret A. Edwards Award “for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature,” and the Children’s Literature Legacy Award (then known as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award) for ” a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” Her 2014 Brown Girl Dreaming won the Coretta Scott King Author Award as well as Newbery and Sibert Honors, and her 2005 Coming on Home Soon, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, won a Caldecott Honor.  (For the entire list of her accolades and books, see her website.)

One of her earlier books, the Coretta Scott King Honor book From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun (1995), is about a Black boy whose single mother starts dating a White woman—although not all of her books include queer parents. When I posted about her last May, I shared some quotes from her about her real life and being part of a two-mom family.

At least two other queer moms, to my knowledge, have won MacArthur Awards. Mary Bonauto, a leading attorney in the fight for marriage equality, won one in 2014, and quantum astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala won one in 2010. That shouldn’t make the rest of us feel bad if we haven’t yet changed the world—sometimes, being a parent is enough in and of itself. Still, I always find it inspiring to know that I have at least one thing in common with these cool folks. I hope they inspire you, too.


(I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program that provides a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.)

Also.Also.Also: Your Hot Queer Aunts Roxane Gay and Debbie Millman Are Spinning Stevie Nicks Too

Also.Also.Also: Your Hot Queer Aunts Roxane Gay and Debbie Millman

Hello! I’m back like an entire world hasn’t imploded since we were all last together on Thursday!! In the last five days, The President got COVID (maybe you’ve heard by now lol) and then that was only the beginning of how shit got weird. I was just saying how every day feels like a month and every hour also feels like a month and that’s how you know it’s 2020.

ANYWAY! We all have each other and I have this sunset that’s making the fall leaves look like shiny wrapped candy (or fire, but I prefer candy. The world is hard enough). Let’s see about these links!


Queer as in F*ck You

“It’s hard, but as trans people, we have got to take back our power by not allowing the administration, other people, or society to determine our station in life… By any means necessary, I’m going to blossom.” — Angelica F*cking Ross!

Get into this!! Angelica Ross on Inclusivity in Hollywood, Getting a Buzz Cut, and Blossoming Into Herself BY CRISSLE OF THE PODCAST, THE READ!!!! So much Black Queer and Trans Brilliance!! And on a Tuesday? My god.

Could the Parents of LGBTQ+ Kids Decide the Presidential Election? Advocates Are Putting Money on It. At 57 million strong, how “Equality voters” could be the difference, especially in battleground swing states. (Or at least, that’s what organizers are hoping.)

RIP Soraya Santiago Solla, Puerto Rican Transgender Trailblazer, Who Left Us at Age 72. Death is always sad, but what a full life! May her spirit be at rest.

Belgium Just Appointed the World’s Most Powerful Trans Politician

Maybe you are tired of hearing me checking in on the love story that is Roxane Gay and Debbie Millman, but LALALALA to me they are perfect and I don’t care!!


Saw This, Thought of You

‘A Battle for the Souls of Black Girls’

Super-Concierge Doctors, High-Design Home Classrooms, and Catered Backyard Dinners: Lifestyles of the Rich and Quarantined. You ever stop your day to read a thing? And also it’s so awful that you can’t turn away? It’s a crash on the side of the highway and you know you shouldn’t gawk but also what’s one last look? This is entirely and completely that experience. Also, eat the rich.

Related, probably: Is Mid-Pandemic Travel Creating a Resurgence of the White Saviour Complex?

Still Related, probably: Twitter Thinks 15-Year-Old Claudia Conway Is the Whistleblower of Our Time

How Out-of-Work Strippers Made Their Show Virtual and Are ‘Taking the Power Back’

Was the Commodification of Breonna Taylor Worth It? Let me save you the time, it wasn’t.


Political Snacks

The Last Stand of the Violent, Pathetic Trump Man

How The Two-Party System Obscures The Complexity Of Black Americans’ Politics. Whatever, I’m a nerd. And this is also for nerds. BUT WOW I LOVED READING THIS!

RBG Is a Complicated Figure for Black Legal Scholars. Listen, I happen to really love RBG. But the indomintable Kimberlé Crenshaw had some points, and those points were heard.

Kayleigh McEnany and the Women Who Do PR for White Supremacy. In full disclosure, I read this before it was announced that Kayleigh McEnany had tested positive for COVID, but also the truth is the truth is the truth.

Yesterday, Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito explicitly indicated in a court decision that they want the Court to revisit Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry under the 14th Amendment guarantee to equal protection of the law. ARE YOU PANICKED YET!?!?

But before you get to the five alarm fire, please read this entire Twitter thread by Chase Strangio, one of the brightest queer and trans legal minds of our generation and exactly who I trust to see us through this mess.

The courts will not save us. But maybe, just maybe, we can save ourselves.

A Queer Gothic Anthology edited by Celine Frohn – The Lesbrary

A Queer Gothic Anthology edited by Celine Frohn – The

Unspeakable: A Queer Gothic Anthology edited by Celine Frohn

Gothic fiction is my jam. I love the slowly building sense of dread that is the cornerstone of the genre. If I could have the job of any fictional character, it would be the creepy groundskeeper of the haunted manors in gothic ghost stories. I also (as you can imagine from me writing for this website) love queer stories. Looking back, my favorite horror and gothic books have consistently been those with queer elements. So as soon as I saw Unspeakable on the list of books up for review, I knew I had to read it. I’m happy to say that this short story collection lived up to my high expectations.

While all of the stories include gothic elements, they are all very different. The stories run the gamut from classic, historical gothic horror to modern-day shapeshifter romance. This collection is stronger for the diversity in storytelling that it holds. I loved the ones that had explicit sapphic relationships, but the ones without them were just as good, too.

One feature that really stood out to me in this collection was the setting. As I said, I love classic gothic stories. So every story that took place in an old, desolate home overlooking a grey sea made me very happy. The stories that I thought used setting to their advantage the most were “Hearteater” by Eliza Temple and “Quicksilver Prometheus” by Katie Young. Both of these stories used the grey, dark classic gothic setting to show the inner minds of their main characters. “Quicksilver Prometheus” also stood out to me because of its brilliant use of historical elements. That was definitely one of the best stories in the collection for me. Other stories that had amazing settings were “Moonlight” by Ally Kolzow and “The Moon in Glass” by Jude Reid.

Three of the other stories also stood out to me as being exceptionally good. The first was “Laguna and the Engkanto” by Katalina Watt. This sea creature horror story incorporated the culture of the Philippines to create a truly unique and horrifying tale. Watt’s writing was also featured in another one of my favorite recent anthologies, Haunted Voices. I will definitely be seeking out more of her work.

“Homesick” by Sam Hirst almost made me cry. I wasn’t expecting such a profound and beautiful love story between two ghosts. In my opinion, it also had the best opening line in the book (and maybe of any short story I’ve ever read). This one was simple, but incredibly beautiful. It will certainly stick with me.

Finally, “The White Door” by Lindsay King-Miller turned a classic story on its head and proved that gothic stories can absolutely work in a fantasy setting. I was impressed by how well this one drew on standards set by classic works in order to create something completely unique. It also had an amazing and very chilling ending.

Overall, I really loved this anthology. I can see myself rereading it at night in October, waiting for something spooky (and potentially even sapphic) to happen.

Kayla Bell is the pen name of an author, reviewer, and lover of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. You can catch up with her on Instagram @Kreadseverything for more book reviews and updates about her writing.

An SOS to my only queer gal pal- advice for making the first move?? : actuallesbians

An SOS to my only queer gal pal- advice for

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

“What’s in a Name?” Anthology Gives Voice to Nonbiological/Nongestational Queer Parents

"What's in a Name?" Anthology Gives Voice to Nonbiological/Nongestational Queer

A must-read new anthology about queer women and nonbinary people who are nonbiological and nongestational parents looks at their paths to parenthood, their experiences as parents, and the evolving meanings of what it is to be a mother.

What’s in a Name: Perspectives from Nonbiological and Nongestational Queer Mothers

What’s in a Name: Perspectives from Nonbiological and Nongestational Queer Mothers, edited by Sherri Martin-Baron, Raechel Johns, and Emily Regan Wills (Demeter Press), is the first book in nearly a decade and a half to dedicate itself to the experiences of this segment of queer parents. Way back in 2006, when this blog was barely a year old, Harlyn Aizley brought together numerous voices in her edited volume Confessions of the Other Mother: Nonbiological Lesbian Moms Tell All. It remains a valuable work, but much has changed legally and socially since its publication—and there is no reason not to add even more perspectives to our understanding.

The editors of What’s in a Name are all queer parents themselves. In their introduction to the volume, Martin-Baron says that in creating the book, she wanted “to build a community resource and give voice to positive, real stories. ” Johns “knew that our stories could help people plan their families or navigate becoming a nonbiological or nongestational parent.” Wills adds, with repercussions outside the queer community, “I see us beginning to write a theory of mothering/parenting beyond biology.” On all three counts they are likely to succeed.

They showcase essays by themselves and 12 other writers from Australia, Austria, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Some contributors had always known they did not want to or were not able to carry a child; others keenly wanted to but experienced fertility roadblocks; some are nonbiological/nongestational parents to one of their children but gave birth to another. Some of them view their motherhood through intersectional lenses of race, disability, or a nonbinary or more masculine gender identity. There are vignettes about forming families and securing them; about struggling against a society that either didn’t recognize their role as mothers or sought to frame them as it often frames straight fathers—distanced and vaguely incompetent as parents. Several contributors reflect on their children’s preferences for one parent over another, a preference that can change and that isn’t always tied to biology; others muse on the parental names they’ve chosen, and one looks closely at the microaggression of those who assume that she’ll want to give birth to her family’s next child, as if being a nonbiological mother was something to be bettered. Contributor Sonja MacKenzie reminds us, too, that even within the queer community, “normative biological tropes” are “often internalized and reproduced.”

No other qualification makes a parent but a choice to love.

We learn how these mothers around the world have navigated their relationships with their children, their partners, donor siblings (who by their very existence  center a biological connection), the society around them, and their own selves, as they seek to understand and shape their identity as mothers. These stories will make readers, no matter what their parental status or path to parenthood, think deeply about what it means to be a mother and a parent. Contributor Clare Candland, for example, writes of the love that makes a parent, asserting:

This kind of love isn’t earned like a badge. This kind of love doesn’t necessarily come from a pregnancy or birth. This kind of love come from a choice to open oneself up to it. It comes from a choice to embrace the responsibility and vulnerability that make up a parent and a commitment to follow through on that choice, even when the effects push you into a life that you never expected or wanted…. No other qualification makes a parent but a choice to love.

And contributor Patricia Curmi even suggests that there are advantages to being a nonbiological and nongestational parent, saying, “I’ve discovered that I enjoy my relationship with our daughter not being rooted in shared genetic traits. It has challenged me to keep seeing and reseeing her as a person wholly unto herself, free from my projections and expectations of what a child with my genes should be like.”

My only criticism of this superb volume is that I would have liked to have seen some essays by people of color, although a few of the contributors do talk about having multiracial children or a partner or donor of another racial or ethnic identity.

Nonbiological/nongestational parents or parents-to-be will be uplifted and strengthened by the stories here; biological ones may have a better understanding of what their partners/spouses may feel or encounter.  Parents and prospective parents of any type—queer or not—will find much to ponder about the meaning of parenting, family, and love.


(I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program that provides a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.)