Reading recommendations on queer families
June 29, 2013 8:49 PM   Subscribe

I want to read more about alternative family structures in queer communities, particularly trans* communities, particularly communities of and for queer transpeople of color. What can you recommend?

This came up because I've been thinking about Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnsona lot; they were the mothers of STAR House, much in the way that the drag houses had mothers. I want to read more about the family structures of the drag houses, or, more broadly, about alternative family structures and parenting practices in queer communities that aren't built on blood or marriage ties. Academic stuff is fine. Memoirs are fine. Whatever's fine. Yes, I've seen Paris Is Burning.
posted by liketitanic to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship by Kath Weston is a book from the early '90s about this. I haven't read the entire thing, but the sections I have read were good. I believe it's a seminal text on the topic, and I'm fairly certain that Weston, who was an anthropologist, coined the phrase "chosen family".
posted by k8lin at 9:06 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Empire of Love: Toward a Theory of Intimacy, Genealogy and Carnality by Elizabeth Povinelli is focused on radical faerie communities in the US and on Aboriginal Australian communities, but also provides a great history of how the notion of family structures has evolved from feudal times. Downside: it's dense and challenging, but really fascinating if you've got the fortitude for academic texts! (I only just barely do.)
posted by tapir-whorf at 9:21 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Families – Beyond the Nuclear Ideal is an academic book (and you can read it online!) on issues of families that go beyond the common heterosexual, married to each other, genetic parents.
posted by thebestsophist at 10:20 PM on June 29, 2013

Came in here to recommend Families We Choose, which is great. You might also be interested in the Love Makes a Family exhibit.

If you're interested in something more academic and less specifically oriented around the language of "family," Michael Warner's work on queer publics and counterpublics more generally would be worth reading. You may want to start with The Trouble with Normal if you haven't already read it, but much of the stuff in Publics and Counterpublics is also relevant.
posted by dizziest at 12:30 AM on June 30, 2013

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