Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Emily Kazyak, Nicholas Park, Julia McQuillan, and Arthur L. Greil, Attitudes Toward Motherhood Among Sexual Minority Women in the United States, Journal of Family Issues, published October 15, 2014 as doi:10.1177/0192513X14554396


Copyright © 2014 Emily Kazyak, Nicholas Park, Julia McQuillan, and Arthur L. Greil. Published by Sage Publications, Used by permission.


In this article, we use data from the National Survey of Fertility Barriers—a national, population-based telephone survey—to examine how sexual minority women construct and value motherhood. We analyze the small (N = 43) random sample of self-identified sexual minority women using “survey-driven narrative construction,” which entails converting the structured answers and open-ended responses for each respondent into narratives and identifying themes. We focused on both sexual minority women’s desires and intentions to parent and on the importance they place on motherhood. We found that there is considerable variation in this population. Many sexual minority women distinguish between having and raising children, suggesting a broad notion of motherhood. We also found that sexual minority women without children are not all voluntarily childfree. Our results suggest that survey research on fertility would improve by explicitly addressing sexuality.