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In search of a name for lesbians who mother their non-biological children
journal contributionposted on 2008-09-01, 00:00 authored by Rhonda Brown, A Perlesz
We are interested in how language has been used in the literature to describe and define the role and relationship of non-birth lesbian mothers to their children. Although previous researchers and clinicians have presented strong cases for a variety of descriptions, there is little agreement about what language best reflects and, indeed, legitimizes this relationship. We have previously argued that “the search for a definitive term is unlikely to bear fruit” (Brown & Perlesz, 2007), and, in this article, we revisit the variety of labels used and explore the implications of this language. Language is not only determined by social and individual understandings of mothering and parenting, but is also influenced by pathways to lesbian parenting and negotiated roles and relationships within families. Language has the power not only to acknowledge and affirm but also to negate and render invisible the position and distinctive contribution of lesbian mothers who have not given birth to their children.