Sociology, Department of



Emily Kazyak

Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Sociology, Special Issue – Experiences of and responses to disempowerment, violence and injustice within the relational lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) people, 18p. Published December 4, 2019.



Copyright © 2019 Emily Kazyak and Nicholas K. Park; published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


The cultural and legal landscape in the United States has shifted towards increased recognition of LGBQ-parent families. This shift raises questions about the everyday experiences of LGBQ parents and whether the cultural and legal changes also manifest in diminished experiences of discrimination. Drawing on data from 74 interviews with LGBQ parents, we analyze their accounts of whether they are read as a parent by others in their daily interactions. Our findings reveal the ways in which heterosexuality is a key component of how membership to the category of ‘parent’ is produced in social interactions. Our findings also illustrate how assumptions about heterosexuality are both racialized and gendered. Our focus on accountability foregrounds power in everyday interactions and provides a lens through which to understand how inequality and disempowerment for LGBQ people can persist in American society despite cultural and legal changes.