Lesbian Motherhood: An Exploration of Canadian Lesbian Families


159 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-0765-1
DDC 306.874'3'086643




Reviewed by Sara Stratton

Sara Stratton teaches history at York University.


This study is a work in progress, but it is so preliminary that its
value at this point is questionable. Based on a sample group of 27
lesbians and their children from three Alberta cities, it is hardly
representative of Canadian lesbian families. In addition, as there is
very little mention of children in this book, it is not truly a study of
the family.

The main focus of the book is on “achieving motherhood”: how were
these children conceived? Some were conceived in heterosexual
relationships before the mother identified as lesbian; some were
conceived by self-insemination, by artificial insemination, or through
sexual intercourse while the biological mother was in a lesbian
relationship. These are often very interesting stories, and Nelson is
wise to allow the subjects to speak for themselves.

In other places, however, Nelson’s sociological analysis is often
bogged down in turgid prose. This, along with typographical and
grammatical errors, suggests that the book deserved a better editing.

As the author makes clear, lesbian families are a permanent part of
Canadian society. As a social phenomenon and as people they deserve more
careful and in-depth analysis; the reader hopes that this evolves as
Nelson’s study continues.


Nelson, Fiona., “Lesbian Motherhood: An Exploration of Canadian Lesbian Families,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/5762.