Atelier Genre(s) et Sexualité(s) « Queer kinships in a stratified world: Options for reproductive justice? »

Le 10/12/2019

with Marcin Smietana from the University of Cambridge, ReproSoc

This talk considers how solidarities can be built for ‘queering reproduction’. Perceptions of fertility, reproductivity and kinship among LGBTQ+ people have been changing in the context of intersectional hierarchies, where both LGBTQ+ people and those who help them reproduce may be subject to vulnerabilities and exclusions. Whilst LGBTQ+ and other ‘non-normative’ intended parents have been claiming reproductive rights – from which they have been long excluded – some of them may have become complicit with hierarchies of exclusion. Only some LGBTQ+ people can access reproduction, if at all, due to their social class, citizenship or race; and queer reproduction may unfold at the cost of the rights of those who help LGBTQ+ parents: gamete donors, surrogate mothers, birth parents in adoption. Processes such as racialization have become an increasingly prominent feature of gay parenting projects. – So how can these tensions be tackled for reproductive justice? What can justice actually mean to different stakeholders involved? How can we think of ‘queer reproductive justice’? In tackling these questions, I draw on the recently published volume of Reproductive BioMedicine & Society (2018, vol. 7) I guest edited with Charis Thompson, and our joint project with France Winddance Twine on ‘Making and breaking families: Reading queer reproductions, stratified reproduction and reproductive justice together’. In this project – derived from a day-long conference, Making Families, we convened at UC Berkeley in 2016 – our aim was to draw out and then begin to address tensions and possible solidarities among three powerful frames for thinking about contemporary reproduction, namely queer reproductions, stratified reproduction and reproductive justice, that are rarely read together. I also refer to my ethnographic research with gay men who have children through surrogacy and adoption: I ask what having children, and having them in specific ways, actually means to them, as well as what it implies for queering reproduction and kinship, as well as for reproductive justice.


Marcin Smietana is a postdoc research associate in the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc), University of Cambridge (UK). He is also a member of the lgbtQ+@cam programme in queer, trans and sexuality studies at the University of Cambridge. Within ReproSoc’s Wellcome Trust funded collaborative grant ‘Changing In/Fertilities’ he coordinates the work package that researches the changing reproductive behaviours and perceptions of reproduction and kinship among LGBTQ+ people. This follows on from Marcin’s previous EU funded research (based at UC Berkeley and Cambridge) on the narratives of gay men who form families through transnational surrogacy, as well as from his PhD on the social inclusion of families created by gay men through transnational adoption in Spain (Univ. of Barcelona, and AFIN-Autonomus Univ. of Barcelona). In his early MA research (Jagiellonian Univ. in Kraków), Marcin dealt with the identity politics and social reception of the LGBT movement in Poland. His most recent publication, co-edited with Charis Thompson (London School of Economics) is the special issue of Reproductive BioMedicine & Society Online (Nov. 2018) ‘Making Families: Transnational Surrogacy, Queer Kinship and Reproductive Justice,’ where the perspectives of queer reproductions are put into conversation with those of stratified reproduction and reproductive justice.

Tuesday 10 December, from 5pm to 7 pm

Henri Janne Room, Sociology Institute (15th floor) Avenue Jeanne, 44 1050 Bruxelles Abstract

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