Black FeminismLGBTQ

What I’m Reading :: Black LGBTQ Annotated Bibliography ‘On Black Feminism, Health and Motherhood’

Below is the annotated bibliography from the Black lesbian breastfeeding independent study I just finished. I have to be honest when I say that this was probably one of thee most grueling documents I’ve ever constructed. Why? Because nothing exists on what I was looking for and I found myself more frustrated than not most of the time digging and digging and coming up empty handed. After all that research I came to find out that Black lesbians really don’t breastfeed. OK, I know that’s not really accurate. But I found nothing on the topic. Zilch. I don’t mean to suggest that scientific and empirical evidence is what ‘humanizes’ someone. AT ALL. Nor do I mean to have the attitude that ‘you’re no one unless someone studies you’. That really goes against my own beliefs in traditional knowledge and such. But the fact that conversations about breastfeeding remain absent in breastfeeding promotion, studies on Black motherhood, Black feminist discourse, Black lesbian motherhood and HEALTH….. speaks volumes. What exactly it is saying — I don’t know right now. But I’ve always said to pay close attention to what you see and even closer attention to what you don’t.

Something interesting and true statement  from a dissertation I came across called Nipple Matters:  A Black Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Infant Feeding for Black Mothers (citation is below), is that the author says exploring the areas of breastfeeding among Black lesbian women just may do us some good, allowing us to see the possible differences. This is what she said at the beginning of that document:

‘there were no questions directed toward same-sex relationships, and/or the dynamics of negotiating infant feeding in a non-heteronormative context. This omission points to a gap not only in my research project, but also in the broader realm of research on queer black mothers and infant feeding. Further studies should consider the experiences of lesbians and transgendered Black mothers, as those voices would surely elucidate the (potentially) different venues for navigating infant feeding in this subgroup of black women.’

Another interesting thing I read that I didn’t know about before is that according to some — particularly in Improving Access to Health Care Among African-American, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations and a couple others, lesbians are at greater risk for certain diseases — cancers and other such diseases, because they are less-likely to become pregnant than heterosexual women and therefore more likely to be prone to things that having a child helps divert. Did you know that? But then, from my perspective it gets more complicated and I’d have to ask questions like ‘who gets to live and thrive if more lesbians are giving birth? What do the social and political circumstances look like? Socioeconomic and otherwise?’

I started on a quest for Black lesbian breastfeeding. When I realized I was running into a brick wall and could find nothing on the topic (and with the suggestion from the prof) I turned to gathering info on motherhood, since that is the next best thing and that inevitably has to lead somewhere. Since my work is rooted in Black feminist theory and I can’t even understand some things without this framework, there are some citations on that, too. Of course I know there is much more scholarship I could have added to the section but this was only a 2 credit independent study so there was only room for so much. My primary research interest overall is not to focus on Black lesbian breastfeeding. But I believe that in order to be truly effective in Black breastfeeding, exploring it from as many angles as possible is absolutely necessary. After Black Feminism there is ‘Health’ and then ‘Motherhood’. Anything with an * is from the annotated bibliography ‘Black Lesbians: An Annotated Bibliography’. Tell me what you think. And then leave a link in the comment section if there is a citation you’d like to add:

Black Feminism

  •  Anderson, Margaret Hill and Patricia Hill Collins

2012 Race, Class and Gender: An Anthology. Michigan: Cengage Learning.

Featuring an accessible and diverse collection of more than 60 writings by a variety of scholars, RACE, CLASS, & GENDER demonstrates how the complex intersection of people’s race, class, and gender (and also sexuality) shapes their experiences, and who they become as individuals. Each reading addresses a timely–and often controversial–topic, such as the sub-prime mortgage crisis, health care inequality, undocumented students, and social media, thus giving readers a multidimensional perspective on a number of social issues. To provide an analytical framework for the articles, co-editors Andersen and Hill Collins begin each section with an in-depth introduction.

  •  Birtha, Becky

Leftovers. ‘Sinister Wisdom 9’. (Spring 1979): 45-47.

A lyrical story by this Black lesbian feminist writer about two lovers and the moment at which one of them, Gina, lets go of the turquoise beads that symbolize her heterosexual past. (*298)

  • Collins, Patricia Hill

2010 Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of          Empowerment. New York. Routledge.

In spite of the double burden of racial and gender discrimination, African-American women have developed a rich intellectual tradition that is not widely known. In Black Feminist Thought, originally published in 1990, Patricia Hill Collins set out to explore the words and idea of Black feminist intellectuals and writers, both within the academy and without. Here Collins provides an interpretive framework for the work of such prominent Black feminist thinkers as Angela Davis, bell hooks, Alice Walker and Audre Lorde. Drawing from fiction, poetry, music and oral history, the result is a book that provided the first synthetic overview of Black feminist thought and its canon

  • Collins, Patricia Hill

2005 Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender and the New Racism. New  York: Routledge.

Black Sexual Politics discusses the way that race, class and gender intersect to affect the lives of African American men and women in many different ways, but with similar results.

She argues that a narrow black sexual politics that places extreme value on limiting views of the role of the male and the role of the female, and also on the role of appropriate and socially acceptable sexual behavior works to deny LGBT people their agency, and prevents honest dialogue about different types of sexual lifestyles. This can work to the oppression of LGBT people, but also of heterosexual women and men, oppressed by views of sexuality which limit their sexual expression, and thus limit the space for them to talk about their lifestyles in a way that breeds honesty, self-affirmation and prevents the spread of disease.

  • Collins, Patricia Hill

1986 Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought. Social Problems 33(6): S14-S32.

Patricia Hill Collins argues that ‘many Black female intellectuals have made creative use of their marginality — their ‘outsider within’ status — to produce Black feminist thought that reflects a special standpoint on self, family, and society.’

  • Combahee River Collective

1977 A Black Feminist Statement. In Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology. Barbara Smith, ed. Pp. 264-274. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

A group of women who argued for intersectionality, based on gender, race, class and sexual orientation. A Black Feminist Statement is one such document that looks at how these women feel absent form the overarching Black nationalist movement and feminist based on white women’s ideas.

  • Davis, Angela Y

1983 Women, Race and Class. New York: Vintage.

A powerful study of the women’s movement in the U.S. from abolitionist days to the present that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders.

  • *284. Lesbian Herstory Archives 

Founded in 1974, the LHA has a significant body of secondary and primary material by and about Black lesbians. Most items listed in this bibliography are on file at LHA. Other one-of-a-kind materials, too numerous to list here, are contained in the tape holdings, conference papers, special collections and the photography collection. They particularly include: taped poetry readings by Jemima Writers’ Collective, Pat Parker, and Audre Lorde; Tapes of the National Lesbian Feminist Organization’s discussion of the Women of Color Resolution.

  • *306. Clarke, Cheryl

[Review of Movement in Black: The Collected Poetry of Pat Parker, 1961-1978.] Conditions Six 2:3 (Summer 1980): 217-25. 

Reviewer identifies and explores Pat Parker’s ‘triad of identity’ from which her poetry has been created, enriching the Afro-American poetry and women’s poetry because of its Black lesbian feminist perspective.

  • *311. Cornwell, Anita

To a Bamboozled Soul Sister. ‘Sinister Wisdom 3’. Summer (Spring 1977): 46-48. 

In this letter separating herself from the demands of an old college friend, Black lesbian feminist, Anita Cromwell points out the contradictions of heterosexist feminism and refuses to support the woman’s return to a brutal marriage.

  • *321. Gibbs, Joan

  1980 Frankie. Sinister Women 14 (Summer 1980): 36-39.

 This short story by Black lesbian feminist writer and editor Joan Gibbs is a young girl’s vivid account of her sixteen year old daughter Frankie, who is beaten by her self-righteous mother and stepfather when they find out she’s pregnant, seeks refuge with a prostitute in the same building, has an abortion and is never seen again.

  •  Harris, Alexandra Laura

 1996 Queer Black Feminism: The Pleasure Principle. Feminist Review: Contesting Feminist Orthodoxies 54: 3-30.

 In this critical personal narrative Harris explores some of the gaps between conceptions of feminist thought and feminist practice. Harris focuses on an analysis of race, class, and desire divisions within feminist sexual politics. She suggests a queer black feminist theory and practice that calls into question naturalized identities and communities, and therefore what feminism and feminist practices might entail.

  •  hooks, bell

 1981 Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism. New York: South End Press.

 A groundbreaking work of feminist history and theory analyzing the complex relations between various forms of oppression. Ain’t I a Woman examines the impact of sexism on black women during slavery, the historic devaluation of black womanhood, black male sexism, racism within the recent women’s movement, and black women’s involvement with feminism.

  •  *329. Hull, Gloria T.

Researching Alice Dunbar-Nelson: A Personal and Literary Perspective. ‘Feminist Studies’ 6:2 (Summer 1980): 314-320.

 A Black Feminist Researcher describes the ‘engaged process’ of researching and writing about Alice Dunbar-Nelson, seeing it as a ‘case study of Black feminist scholarship.’ Briefly refers to Dunbar-Nelson’s woman-identified relationships and stresses the importance of letting Dunbar-Nelson stand as she was, fully revealed without distortions and lies.

  •  330. Kendall, Kathy

Canaan Files Free Speech Suit. Distaff (July 1980): 9, 10. Por il.

 Interview with Black lesbian feminist Andrea Ruth Canaan, who, after ‘coming out,’ was dismissed from her job at Louisiana state agency.

  •  Lorde, Audre

  1980 The Cancer Journals. Argyle: Spinsters Ink.

 Well-known poet writes about her struggle with breast cancer from a Black feminist perspective.

  • Miller, Shannon J. and Blaise Astra Parker

 2009 Reframing the Power of Lesbian Daughters’ Relationships With Mothers Through Black Feminist Thought. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services 21(203): 206 -218.

 The present article uses Black feminist thought to recast the discussion of Black lesbians’ coming out to their mothers from a dismal experience to a personal liberatory endeavor influenced by their mothers’ instructions on Black womanhood. The literature usually depicts coming out in Black families as an arduous task that often is delayed or never transpires for Black lesbians. However these findings are often void of a cultural relevant analysis of lesbian identity development and Black mother–daughter bonds. The article examines how Black mothers’ can be extremely influential in their daughters’ decision to proclaim their lesbian identity.

  •  Moore, Mignon

2012 Intersectionality and the Study of Black Sexual Minority Women. Gender and Society 26(1): 33-39.

 A look at how the work of Collins and others can help to more fully integrate studies of sexuality and family formation into the sociological imagination.

  •  Moore, Mignon

 2006 Lipstick or Timberlands? Meaning of Gender Presentation in Black Lesbian Communities. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32(1): 113-139. 

Moore gathers data to gauge the way gender is expressed among lesbians.

  • Moraga, Cherie and Anzaluda, Gloria

1981. This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Watertown, Mass: Persephone Press.

Anthology about Third World feminism. Includes some Black lesbian writings. 

  • Sheftall, Beverly Guy

 1995 Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought. New York:  The New Press.

In this groundbreaking collection of articles, Dr. Guy-Sheftall has taken us from the early 1830s to contemporary times. Only since the seventies have black women used the term ‘feminism.’ And, yet, it is that concept that she uses to bring into the same frame the ideas and analyses of Maria Stewart, Sojourner Truth, and Frances Harper of the early nineteenth century, and the work of women such as Audre Lourde, Barbara Smith, and bell hooks, who stand on the threshold of the twenty-first century.

  • Smith, Barbara

 1977 Towards a Black Feminist Criticism. Conditions Two 1(2): 25-44.

Explores connections between the politics of feminism, Black women’s lives and literature, and what the state of Black lesbian writing indicates about Black women’s culture and oppression. 

  • White, Francis E

2001 Dark Continent Of Our Bodies: Black Feminism & Politics Of Respectability (Mapping Racisms). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

A black lesbian feminist looks at black feminism its roots, its role, and its implications. From Charles Darwin and nineteenth-century racism to black nationalism and the Nation of Islam, from Baptist women’s groups to James Baldwin; E. Frances White takes on one institution after another as she re-centers the role of black women in the United States’ intellectual heritage.


Black LGBT Health

  • Cochran, S.D., and VM Hays

1994 Depressive distress among homosexuality active African American men and women. Journal of Psychiatry 154(4): 524-529.

Although early surveys of psychological adjustment among gay men and lesbians suggest only minor and not clinically relevant differences from heterosexual populations, concerns about psychiatric morbidity associated with HIV infection have renewed interest in the prevalence of psychological distress in this population, particularly among gay men. These later studies have focused primarily on white men. However, research indicates higher crude prevalence rates of psychological distress in community-drawn samples of African American subjects than in white subjects and also higher rates in women than in men. The authors examined rates of depressive distress and suicidal thoughts among homosexually active African American men and women who might be especially at risk for psychiatric morbidity due to multiple stigmatized social statuses.

  • Cochran, S.D., and VM Hays

1988 Disclosure of sexual preference to physicians by black lesbian and bisexual women. Western Journal of Medicine 149(5): 616-619.

Physicians’ ability to diagnose and treat health care problems, particularly those with a psychosocial component, is facilitated by accurate information concerning the life-styles of their patients. White lesbians have been shown to be generally reluctant to disclose sexual orientation to their physicians, but little, if anything, is known about black lesbians. Black women, self-identified as bisexuals (N = 65) and lesbians (N = 529), were asked whether they had disclosed their homosexual behavior to their physicians.

  • Gomez, Jewell L and Barbara Smith 

1994 Taking the Home Out of Homophobia: Black Lesbian Health. In The Black Women’s Health Book: Speaking for Ourselves. Evelyn C. White, ed. Pp. 198-213. Seattle: Seal Press.

For black lesbians, anti-gay sentiments compound the racism and sexism that circumscribe all black female lives. In the following piece, two black lesbian writers discuss the debilitating toll homophobia takes on black gays.

  • Hart, Dionne MD 

2013 Toward Better Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Patients. Minnesota Medicine 96(8): 42-45.

African American female MD discusses the need to concentrate on the patient’s physical symptoms, medical condition, [and also] ethnicity and sexual preference and socioeconomic circumstances’.

  • Hogan, Kate 

2002 Creating the Lesbian Mammy: Boys on the side and the Politics of AIDS.  Looking Across the Lens: Women’s Studies and Film. Women’s Studies Quarterly 30(1/2): 88-102.

This author criticizes the 90s film Boys on the Side, saying that ‘This film emerges in a film about AIDS in order to do what the mammy figure has always done: reassure white spectators that black women’s sexuality is under wraps and that the racial boundaries between ‘white’ and ‘black’ are firmly intact’ and that the multiple anxieties of the epidemic are eased through a non-threatening, desexualized, maternal African American lesbian character.’

  • Jacob, Kimberly R Arriola, Christina P.C. Borrba and Winifred Wilkins Thompson 

  2007 The Health Status of Black Women.  Black Women, Gender + Families 1(2): 1-23.

Black women suffer disproportionately from poor health. For almost every health indicator, they experience excess morbidity and mortality in comparison to white women. Despite this compelling evidence, efforts to address this problem have been slow to materialize. In this article, we offer a contemporary exploration of the prevalence of disease and behavioral risk among black women in five general areas: HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, violence and abuse, mental illness, and obesity and sedentary behavior. Within each area we explore theoretical frameworks that consider social, cultural, environmental, economic, and political explanations for why black women are disproportionately affected. We also present research on the health of incarcerated women and lesbian women as examples of subpopulations of black women that are particularly vulnerable to health disparities.

  • Karydi, Alexandra 


The objective of this paper is to understand the different aspects of knowledge, attitudes and perceptions regarding sexual health in the lesbian population. This paper serves to fill a gap in the available knowledge to promote healthier and safer sexual behavior and break down stereotypes without undue harm in gay women. A limitation of this comprehensive guide is that the findings and research often are not derived from a large, population-based sample; thus, caution should be exercised in generalizing the findings on frequency of health behaviors, symptoms, and diagnoses in lesbian women. In addition, there is a lack of information and research being done on this population.

*Karydi discusses Black lesbians throughout.

  • Oetjen, Phd, Helen and Esther D. Roghblum, PhD

2008 When Lesbian Aren’t Gay: Factors Affecting Depression Among Lesbians. Journal of Homosexuality 39(1): 49-73

The present study examined four of the risk factors consistently cited in the women and depression literature (relationship status, relationship satisfaction, social support from friends, and social support from family), and two unique factors (outness and relationship status satisfaction), to determine their ability to predict depression among lesbians.

*Study also focuses on Black lesbians.

  • Makadon, Harvey, with Kenneth Mayer, Jennifer Potter and Hilary Goldhammer 

2007 Fenway Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians.

The Fenway Guide provides guidance, practical guidelines, and discussions of clinical issues pertinent to the LGBT patient and community. It also focuses on helping healthcare professionals gain a better understanding of the LGBT population, the LGBT life continuum, health promotion and disease prevention, transgender health, and patient communication and the office environment

*Some African Americans were part of their ‘population sample’.

  • Mays, Vick M, PhD, MSPH, and Antoinette K. Yancey, MD, MPH et al 

2001 Heterogeneity of Health Disparities Among African American, Hispanic, and Asian American Women: Unrecognized Influences of Sexual Orientation. American Journal of Public Health 92(4): 632-639.

This study compared health indicators among self-identified lesbians/bisexual women and heterosexual women residing in Los Angeles County. Respondents were English-speaking Hispanic, African American, and Asian American women. Health status, behavioral risks, access barriers, and indicators of health care were assessed.

  • Meyer, Ilan H. and Mary E. Northridge 

2007 The Health of Sexual Minorities: Public Health Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Populations. New York City: Springer.

This resource offers a multidimensional picture of LGBT health across clinical and social disciplines to give readers a full and nuanced understanding of these diverse populations. It contains real-world matters of definition and self-definition, meticulous analyses of stressor and health outcomes, a extensive coverage of research methodology concerns, and critical insights into the sociopolitical context of LGBT individuals’ health and lives.

*Provides some discussions on Black lesbians and Black LGBT

  • Rosser, Sue V 

1993 Ignored, Overlook or Subsumed: Research on Lesbian Health and Healthcare. NWSA Journal 5(2): 183-203.

In health care research, diagnosis, and treatment lesbians have usually been ignored. The norm for research, diagnosis and treatment of health and disease in the United States is the white heterosexual middle-class male. Health care for heterosexual women and homosexual men has been researched less since both deviate form the norm. Doubly distanced from the heterosexual male norm, lesbian health care and disease issues have failed to receive funding and study.

*Author makes some mention of Black lesbian women in references.

  • Wilson, Patrick A. and Hirokazu Yoshikawa 

2012 Improving Access to Health Care Among African-American, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations. Pp. 607-637. New York City: Springer.

This chapter presents research that may help to explain why African American, Asian and Pacific Islander (API), and Latino LGBPs have a lack of access to quality health care and a higher prevalence of poor health outcomes than other populations. The chapter also explores the ways in which access to health care can be improved for minority LGBPs and presents suggestions for institutional-, community-, and policy-level interventions.

*Of particular interest: ‘Although lesbian women have a lower incidence of STIs than heterosexual women, some research suggests that these women are at heightened risk for certain cancers including breast, ovarian and endometrial malignancies…. This greater risk may stem from lesbians’ higher likelihood of nulliparity (i.e., to never given birth to a child) than heterosexual women’ (Pg. 608).

Black Lesbian/LGBT Motherhood 

  • Ames, Barbara D. and Chabot, Jennifer M 

2004 It wasn’t ‘Let’s get pregnant and go do it’: Decision in Lesbian Couples Planning       Motherhood. Family Relations 53(4): 348-356. 

The process that lesbian couples experienced in using donor insemination (DI) to become parents was examined in this study through interviews of 10 lesbians. Using a decision-making framework embedded in feminist theory, results identified the major decisions involved that conceptualized the transition to parenthood and describe how these decisions were experienced.

* Under the section ‘Recruitment’ the authors tell us that ‘Of the 20 individuals interviewed, 1 [self-identified] as African American.’

  • Asanti, Ta’Shia 

  1996 It’s Tough Being A Lesbian Mom. Lesbian News 21(9): 41. 

Information on some of the challenges encountered by African-American lesbian    mothers.

  • Barton, Elain. 

2009 Nipple Matters: A Black Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Infant Feeding among African Americans. PhD Dissertation, Department of Sociology, Georgia State University.

During this unique moment of feminist inquiry wherein breastfeeding has been a focal point of interdisciplinary research, little sociological scholarship has been presented which has centered on the various meanings that African American mothers, as a diverse group, attach to their experiences with breastfeeding and/or infant formula use. While patterns of behavior have been explored in a cross-racial context, most social science studies have not focused on how the choice between breastfeeding, using infant formula, or using a combination of the two has impacted (or has been shaped by)African American mothers’ constructs of self, motherhood/mothering, their birth experiences, and their sexuality.

  • Bell-Scott, Patricia and Beverly Guy-Sheftall 

1991 Double-Stitch: Black Women Write About Mothers and Daughters. Boston: Beacon. 

Maya Angelou provides the foreword for this collection of poetry, fiction, and memoir about mothers and daughters, written by such well-known black writers as Alice Walker, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, and others.

*Some mothers identify as Black lesbian, gay or bisexual.

  • Cannick, Jasmyne 

  2008 Baby Mama Drama. Lesbian News 33(10): 21-21.

According to the author, she is amused by lesbian women who want their children to call their partners daddy. The author argues that it is not fair for lesbian mothers to ask their children to call their partners daddy because it is already hard for them to have parents who are both women.

  • D’Augelli, Anthony and Charlotte J. Patterson 

1996 Lesbian Gay and Bisexual Identity Over the Lifespan: Psychological Perspectives.    New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

In this book, Anthony R. D’Augelli and Charlotte J. Patterson bring together top experts to offer a comprehensive overview of what we have discovered–and what we still need to learn–about lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities. Writing in clear, nontechnical language, the contributors cover a range of topics, including conceptions of sexual identity, development over the lifespan, family and other personal relationships, parenting, and bigotry and discrimination. Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identities Over the Lifespan is essential reading for researchers, students, social scientists, mental health practitioners, and general readers who seek the most up-to-date and authoritative treatment of the subject available.

*Page 268 briefly mentions African American lesbian mothering.

‘In a sample of African-American lesbian mothers and African American heterosexual mothers, Hill (1987) found that lesbian mothers reported being more flexible about rules, more relaxed about sex play and modesty, and more likely to have nontraditional expectations for their daughters.’

  • Davis, Angela 

1993 Outcast Mothers and Surrogates: Racism and Reproductive Politics in the Nineties. In American Feminist Thought at Century’s End: A Reader. Linda Kaufmann, ed. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. 

Black feminist lesbian discusses the ‘racism and reproductive politics’ inherent in surrogacy. Davis says that this avenue disproportionately impacts Women of Color, and predicts that this is a new form of capitalist slave labor.

  • DeClure, Jennifer 

2009 Queer Mother Of Color. GLQ A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 15(4): 615-617. 

In this article the author views herself as a gender queer femme. She is a black single mother who is studying film. She states that blackness, motherhood, socioeconomics, and her background as a filmmaker have shaped her queerness as well as her critical perspective. In her master thesis she examined representations of transgressive black women’s gender and sexuality. She used the example of the documentary film “The Aggressives,” which was directed by Daniel Peddle, as well two characters from the television program “The Wire,” Kima and Snoop.

  • Farr, Rachel Hollinsworth 

2011 Coparenting among Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Adoptive Couples: Associations with Couple Relationships and Child Outcomes. PhD Dissertation, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia. 

Among lesbian and gay couples, the aspect of coparenting that has generally been studied is division of labor. In the current study, associations among division of labor, other aspects of coparenting, couple relationship adjustment, and child adjustment were explored among 104 families headed by lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive couples, using multiple methods of assessment, including observational data. ‘Children in the sample were adopted as infants, either at birth or during the first few weeks of life.’

*16% of families are African American

  • Hill, M 

1987 Child-rearing attitudes of black lesbian mothers. In Lesbian Psychologies: Explorations and Challenges. Boston Lesbian Psychologies Collective, ed. Pp. 215-226. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 

*This chapter is difficult to find.

  • Joseph, Gloria I

1984 Black mothers and daughters: Traditional and New populations. SAGE: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women 1(2): 17-21. 

Discusses the emergence of 2 groups of Black women with differing needs: adolescent mothers and lesbian mothers. Implications for understanding the attitudes of Black families and communities towards these groups and for childrearing practices are discussed.

*Journal went out of print in 1995. Article may be hard to find.

  • Lane-Steele, Laura 

2011 Studs and Protest Hyper-masculinity: The Tomboyism within Black Lesbian Female Masculinity. Journal of Lesbian Studies 15(4): 480-492. 

In this article, I use the ethnographic work I conducted in the summer of 2009 with Black lesbian women from South Carolina to show how Black female masculinity has been influenced by historically based constructions of Black gender. I will argue that these studs strategically construct and perform their masculinity in ways that shield them from sexism, racism, and homophobia both in and out of their Black community. By adopting the particular type of masculinity common among their Black male peers, these studs can gain access to some levels of male privilege and power which, in turn, can act as useful defense mechanisms against multiple types of discrimination and oppression.

*Reference to ‘studs in this community who identify as lesbians, but have sex with men and get pregnant. These women are often called “dick dykes” by other women in this community.’

  • Lewis, Michelle K and Isaiah Marshall 

2012 LGBT Phycology: Research Perspectives and People of African Descent. Springer. 

*Discusses motherhood in some chapters.

This volume addresses the issues of African-American LGBT psychology as a case of indigenous psychology. The authors present the research of scholars who are developing theory, practice, and services that are couched within the specific cultural complexities of this population. Some key topics addressed in AFrican-American Issues in LGBT Psychology are gender, spirituality, family, racism, “coming out”, generational differences, health and safety issues, urban vs. rural realities, and implications for researchers.

  • *332. Lesbian Couple are Parents by Artificial Insemination. Jet 55:22 (February 15, 1979): 40-41. Por il.

Black magazine focuses on interracial lesbian couple, Bobbie and Lynn Loftin, who became parents by artificial insemination. Photo.

  • Levine, Nancy E 

2008 Alternate Kinship, Marriage and Reproduction. Annual Reiview of Anthropology. 37: 375-389.

This review examines the implications of new kinship practices for anthropological theory, with a special focus on recent research in gay and lesbian kinship and assisted reproduction.

  • Lorde, Audre 

2007 Man Child: A Black Lesbian Feminst’s Response*. In Sister Outsider: Essays and   Speeches. Pp 72-80. New York: Random House

*In this chapter, Lorde discusses the relationship with her son and the experience of wanting to raise a Black man and the challenges she faces as a Black lesbian feminist.

  • Lorde, Audre 

1985 I Am Your Sister (Freedom Organizing Series). Latham: Kitchen Table – Women of Color Press.

  • Mamo, Laura 

2007 Queering Reproduction: Achieving Pregnancy in the age of Technoscience. Durham: Duke University Press.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with lesbians who have been or are seeking to become pregnant, Laura Mamo describes how reproduction has become an intensely medicalized process for lesbians, who are transformed into fertility patients not (or not only) because of their physical conditions but because of their sexual identities.

*In her analysis, Mamo places some emphasis on the Black lesbian experience.

  • Mccullom, Rod 

  2011 Making It Work. Ebony. 66(12): 80-80. 

The article profiles Iesha McConnell and Terry Treadwell, a black lesbian couple raising children in North Carolina. Topics discussed include how the couple met through their children’s athletic teams, their son conceived through artificial insemination, and the health care benefits offered to same-sex couples by Terry’s employer Apple, Inc. The article notes that unmarried couples in North Carolina, where same-sex marriages are not legal, cannot adopt children together.

  • Mezey, Nancy J

2008 New Choices, New Families: How Lesbians Decide About Motherhood. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Mezey asks why lesbians are forming families at this particular historical moment and wonders how race, class, sexual identity, and family history factor into the decision-making process.

  • Mezey, Nancy J 

2008 The Privilege of Coming Out: Race, Class, and Lesbians: Mothering Decisions. International Journal of Sociology of the Family 34(2): 257-276. 

Based on original ethnographic data conducted in 2000, this article examines how structures of race and class shape the coming out process for childfree lesbians and lesbian mothers. Coming out, or revealing one’s sexual identity, differs for lesbians by race and class. Literature on coming out has focused largely on lesbians of color, but not on White lesbians, lesbians from diverse social classes, or lesbians who want to become mothers. Families offer an important support system for lesbians who want to become mothers. However, in order to access such support, lesbians must be able to come out to families of origin without alienating family members. The findings presented suggest that race and class privilege make coming out to, and being accepted by, family of origin easier for middle-class White lesbians than for lesbians of color and working-class lesbians, thus making it easier for middle-class White lesbians to decide to become mothers.

  • Moore, Mignon 

2011 Invisible Families: Gay Identities, Relationships, and Motherhood among Black Women. Ewing, NJ: University of California Press. 

Drawing from interviews and surveys of one hundred black gay women in New York City, Invisible Families explores the ways that race and class have influenced how these women understand their sexual orientation, find partners, and form families. In particular, the study looks at the ways in which the past experiences of women who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s shape their thinking, and have structured their lives in communities that are not always accepting of their openly gay status.

  • Moore, Mignon 

2011 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(1): 58-68.

The present work analyzes results from a three-year, mixed-methods sociological study of Black lesbian–headed families. It identifies four points of departure Black women make from what the existing literature has assumed about lesbian families and lesbian practice. It links these ideologies and behaviors to the experiences of African-American women growing up in Black heterosexual families and communities, particularly the mother-centered quality of many Black households and the history of female labor force participation and economic contributions to the household.

  • Moore, Mignon 

2009 Review of New Choices, New Families: How Lesbians Decide about Motherhood. Journal of Marriage and Family 71(5): 1350-1352. 

*Author of Invisible Families: Gay Identities, Relationships and Motherhood among Black Women reviews this text by Nancy J. Mezey who ‘asks why lesbians are forming families at this particular historical moment and wonders how race, class, sexual identity, and family history factor into the decision-making process.’

  • Moore, Mignon 

2013 LGBT Sexuality and Families at the Start of the 21st Century. Annual Review of   Sociology 39: 491-507. 

This review concentrates on four topics that have dominated the sociological arena: who counts as family and how/whether changing definitions of family incorporate households formed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people; the biological, social, and legal obstacles that influence family formation for this population; the outcomes for youth raised with lesbian or gay parents; and family dynamics, relationship quality, and relationship dissolution in same-sex couple and transgender partner households.

  • Moore, Mignon 

2008 Gendered Power Relations Among Women: A Study of Household Decision Making in Black Lesbian Stepfamilies. American Sociological Review 73(2): 335-356.

This article uses qualitative and survey research methods to evaluate the common view that two elements of feminist egalitarian ideology-economic independence and the equal distribution of housework and childrearing-are the defining features of lesbian-headed households. Analyses of 32 black women in lesbian stepfamilies suggest that partners share the providing role but biological mothers undertake significantly more household chores. More chore responsibility is used as a trade-off for greater authority over other aspects of household organization, including family finances and childrearing.

  • Morris, Jessica F. and Kimberly F. Balsam, ed 

2002 Lesbian and Bisexual Mothers and Nonmothers: Demographics and the Coming-Out Process. Journal of Family Psychology 16(2): 144-156. 

In a large, national sample of 2,431 lesbians and bisexual women, those who had children before coming out, those who had children after coming out, and those who did not have children were compared on demographic factors and milestones in the coming-out process. Differences were found in race/ethnicity, age, prior marriage, income, religion, use of mental health counseling, and reported hate crimes. Results are also presented for lesbians and bisexual women of each ethnic/racial and age group.

  • Nanette Gartrell, ed. 

  1996 The National Lesbian Family Study: 1. Interviews With Prospective Mothers. American Journal of Orthophychiatry. 66(2).

This first report from a longitudinal study of 84 lesbian families, 70 which include a co-mother as well as a birth mother whose child was conceived by donor insemination, presents interview data on parental relationships, social supports, pregnancy motives and preferences, stigmatization concerns and coping strategies. Methodological limitations of studying this special population are noted, and plans for follow-up interviews over the course of 25 years are outlined.

This article mentions that ‘ donor insemination is less commonly chosen by African-American lesbians than by white lesbians, further decreasing the diversity of the sample.’

  • Nanette Gartrell, ed. 

  1999 The National Lesbian Family Study: 2. Interviews With Mothers of Toddlers. American Journal of Orthophychiatry. 69(3). 

In this second report from a longitudinal study of lesbian families in which the children were conceived by donor insemination, interviews yielded the following date: Most couples shared parenting co-equally; the majority felt closer to their family of origin; adoptive co-mothers felt greater legitimacy as parents; biology and nurture received the same ratings for mother-child bonding; and political and legal action had increased among many participants. The impact of these findings and that of homophobia on lesbian lifestyle is discussed.

Demographics: 3% were African American

  • Nanette Gartrell, ed. 

  2000 The National Lesbian Family Study: 5. Interviews With Mothers of five-year-olds. American Journal of Orthophychiatry. 70(4).

This third report from a longitudinal study of lesbian families presents data obtained from interviews with mothers of five-year-old children conceived by donor insemination. Results indicated that 87% of the children related well to peers, 18% had experienced homophobia from peers or teachers, and 63% had grandparents who frankly acknowledged their grandchild’s lesbian family. Of the original couples, 31% had divorced. Of the remainder, 68% felt that their child was equally bonded to both mothers. Concerns of lesbian families are discussed.

Demographics: 3% were African American

  • Park, Ross D 

  2004 Development in the Family. Annual Review of Psychology 55: 365-399. 

In this chapter we review theoretical conceptual and empirical advances in family research and the implications for children’s development. Three interdependent family subsystems are considered: the parent-child subsystem, the marital subsystem, and the sibling subsystem. Ethnicity is considered by reviewing recent advances in our understanding of African American, Asian American, and Hispanic families.

  • Peplau, Letitia Anne and Kristen P. Beals 

  The Family Lives of Lesbian and Gay Men. In Handbook of Family Communication.     Anita Vangelisti, ed. Pp. 233 – 248. New York: Routledge.

This chapter reviews empirical research about the family lives of lesbians and gay men. We focus on four main topics: societal attitudes about gay men and lesbians, the relations of lesbians and gay men to their family of origin, the nature of gay and lesbian couples, and the experiences of homosexual parents and their children.

  • Potgieter, Cheryl Ann 

2008 Black South African Lesbians: Discourses on Motherhood and Women’s Roles.  Journal of Lesbian Studies 20(67): 135-151. 

In South Africa there is virtually no research that documents the lives of Black lesbians. The research reported here is part of a larger study which, to date, is the first and only in-depth study that focuses on the lives of Black South African lesbians. The study was located within a feminist social constructionist paradigm. The aim of the research was to explore the positions from which Black lesbians speak, as well as to explore how their discourse(s) replicate, challenge and contradict the dominant societal discourses on what it means to be Black and lesbian within South African society.

  • Reed, Sarah J, and Robin Linn Miller, et al 

2011 Good gay females and babies’ daddies: Black lesbian community norms and the acceptability of pregnancy. Culture, Health and Sexuality 13(7): 751-765. 

Using grounded theory, this paper examines sexual and gender norms that have implications for pregnancy, mothering and parenting within a community of young Black lesbians.

  • Reed, Sarah J, and Robin Linn Miller, et al 

2011 Identity and Agency: The Meaning and Value of Pregnancy for Black Lesbians. Psychology of Women Quarterly 35(4): 571-581. 

Young sexual minority women disproportionately experience pregnancy, repeat pregnancy, and become parents, when compared with their heterosexual peers. Black sexual minority women who are socioeconomically disadvantaged are a part of three demographic groups likely to experience adolescent pregnancy. A paucity of research has examined why these young women become pregnant. The authors begin to address this gap by examining the meaning of pregnancy from young women’s perspective.

  • Sloe, Karen 

  1983 If She Grows Up Gay.  San Francisco: Frameline. 

An intimate portrait of a nineteen-year-old black mother, her gay lover, and her young daughter living in New York City. The mother documents her experiences as a teenage parent and her adjustment into a lesbian relationship and new parenting situation for her child.

  • Sullivan, Maureen 

2004 The Family of Woman: Lesbian Mothers, Their Children and the Undoing of Gender. Ewing, NJ: University of California Press. 

This book offers a close and clear-eyed look into a form this change has taken most recently, the lesbian coparent family. Based on intensive interviews and extensive firsthand observation, The Family of Woman chronicles the experience of thirty-four families headed by lesbian mothers whose children were conceived by means of donor insemination.With its intimate perspective on the interior dynamics of these families and its penetrating view of their public lives, the book provides rare insight into the workings of emerging family forms and their significance for our understanding of “family”—and our culture itself.

*In the section on ‘Organization of the book,’ Sullivan mentions that ‘No African American families responded to my recruitment efforts’ and also that ‘The absence of black lesbian mothers in tis group is deeply problematic insofar as their experience is also absent from these pages.’ There is also small mention elsewhere about African-American lesbian mothers.

  • Tasker, Fiona and Charlotte J. Patterson 

2006 Research on Lesbian and Gay Parenting: Retrospect and Prospect. In Gay and Lesbian Parenting: New Directions. Fiona Tasker and Jerry Bigner, eds. Pp. 9-33. Binghampton: The Hawort press. 

Lesbian and gay parenting is a fertile research field with many important new developments in content and methodology over the last decade. Lesbian and gay parenting occurs in a wide diversity of family constellations, yet the cultural context of lesbian and gay parenting is a neglected topic. The relative depth of knowledge of lesbian parenting is contrasted with the lack of research on gay parenting across different routes to parenthood. Lesbian and gay parenting researchers have employed a wide variety of methodological designs in their investigations and the field has benefited from the employment of quantitative and qualitative techniques to investigate developmental outcomes for children and increase understanding of the variety of experiences of lesbian and gay parenthood. This review highlights significant developments in the field and suggests new directions.

*One of the ‘new directions’ discusses the need for more attention to ‘Black, Asian and Hispanic lesbians and gay parents and other ethnic groups.’

  • Woodson, Jacqueline 

  2003 motherhood, my way. Essence (Time, Inc.) 34(8). 

An article about an African-American lesbian who underwent artificial insemination


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