Abstract

Abstract:

Discussions of queerness are steeped in fear about what, and who, queerness will reproduce. Such alarm intensifies when queerness is brought into proximity with children. Meanwhile, the mere possibility of disability inspires calls for segregation, cure, or even elimination. This article asks, what can we learn from the narratives of queer parents of disabled children about queerness, disability, desirable reproduction, and the logic of contagion? A reading of selected passages from interviews with queer mothers of disabled children offers an illustration of discourses of contagion and risk associated with queerness and disability. In one interview, we see how the dominant cultural understanding of disability as threatening leads to the assumption that a non-disabled child's proximity to a disabled sibling represents parental neglect. In another, a mother describes the "yuckiness" of repeated requests to discuss a relationship's end with providers due to associating queer relationships with familial destabilization and damage. Parent narratives at the interstices of queerness and disability tell stories of uncertainty, indirect supposition, restraint, anticipation, shock, and humor. As they use a wide range of shifting strategies to negotiate and contest normative social understandings of who, and what, should be reproduced, parent narratives offer moments of repurposing within constraints.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2151-7371
Print ISSN
2151-7363
Pages
pp. 117-140
Launched on MUSE
2018-05-01
Open Access
No
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