Race Matters in Lesbian Donor Insemination: Whiteness and Heteronormativity as Co-Constituted Narratives

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Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



As in other areas of social life where the privileging of whiteness is rendered invisible, the donor insemination choices of white lesbians making individual choices about the race of potential children are de-racialized and de-politicized. Using qualitative data, we focus on how white women who choose white donors rely on racial markers, while avoiding overt discussions of race, to explain their racial preferences in childrearing. The individuals we interviewed rarely questioned their decision to use white donors, or even verbally acknowledged their decision. For instance, while no participants explicitly stated, ‘I wanted a white child’, they did display preferences in terms of skin colour, hair colour, eye colour, and ethnicity. That is, individuals assumed whiteness and assumed this decision did not have to be explained. Our research deconstructs this narrative and challenges its invisibility.


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