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Invisible Families

Gay Identities, Relationships, and Motherhood among Black Women

Mignon Moore (Author)

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Mignon R. Moore brings to light the family life of a group that has been largely invisible—gay women of color—in a book that challenges long-standing ideas about racial identity, family formation, and motherhood. 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. Overturning generalizations about lesbian families derived largely from research focused on white, middle-class feminists, Invisible Families reveals experiences within black American and Caribbean communities as it asks how people with multiple stigmatized identities imagine and construct an individual and collective sense of self.
Introduction: Two Sides of the Same Coin: Revising Analyses of Lesbian Sexuality and Family Formation through the Study of Black Women
1. Coming into the Life: Entrance into Gay Sexuality for Black Women
2. Gender Presentation in Black Lesbian Communities
3. Marginalized Social Identities: Self-Understandings and Group Membership
4. Lesbian Motherhood and Discourses of Respectability
5. Family Life and Gendered Relations between Women
6. Openly Gay Families and the Negotiation of Black Community and Religious Life
Conclusion: Intersections, Extensions, and Implications

Appendix A: A Roadmap for the Study of Marginalized and Invisible Populations
Appendix B: Selected Questions from Invisible Families Survey
Appendix C: Questions from In-Depth Interview on Self-Definitions of Sexuality
Mignon R. Moore is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“Arguably the most groundbreaking work on LGBT parenting published in recent years.”—Mombian
“[Invisible Families] provides deep insight into the lives and experiences of black lesbians.”—American Journal Of Sociology
“Mignon R. Moore has given Black and African-American lesbians a voice in her book. . . . Not only will this book give visibility and light to African-American lesbian families, but social sciences researchers will cite the construction, development, and conclusions from Moore’s study for years to come.”—Rachel Wexelbaum Lambda Literary
“Necessary reading for scholars and students interested in family studies, LGBT studies, and race-class-gender studies.”—Assoc For Jewish Stds Review / Ajs Review
“An exceptional account of lesbian sexuality and family formation. . . . Invisible Families represents sociological research at its finest. It is a meticulous piece of scholarship that is well written and theoretically sophisticated. . . . This is clearly a groundbreaking book. I highly recommend Invisible Families: Gay Identities, Relationships, and Motherhood among Black Women for scholars and nonscholars alike.”—Anne R. Roschelle State University of New York at New Paltz Gender & Society
"Scholars and students of race, class, gender, sexuality, [and] family . . . will benefit greatly from this comprehensive work."—Lynn Horridge American Anthropologist
"Mignon Moore’s title says it all: Invisible Families. Scholarship on lesbian and gay issues has been slow to recognize the importance of children and family among those in same-sex relationships and has paid scant attention to racial minorities; nor have students of African American life given much attention to Black lesbians and gay men. We are left with the unfortunate impression, to paraphrase the authors of But Some of Us Are Brave, that all the lesbians and gays are White and all the Blacks are heterosexual. This book stands as a significant corrective to these multiple myopias, offering a nuanced account of the kinds of pressures Black women raising children with female partners encounter, and revealing the creativity and resilience they bring to the struggle." --Ellen Lewin, University of Iowa, author of Gay Fatherhood: Narratives of Family and Citizenship in America.

Invisible Families shakes up longstanding theoretical conceptualizations of racial identity, family formation, and motherhood, contesting basic assumptions about black families. Tightly conceptualized and highly engaging.” – Kerry Ann Rockquemore, author of Raising Biracial Children

Finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award, Society for the Study of Social Problems

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