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August 2011 - December 2019


University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Additional courses in anthropology, museum studies, and history

Dissertation: "The Limits of Tolerance: LGBTQ Parenting Rights and the (Re)Production of National Identity in Europe"

This work firstly identifies that people are actually more supportive of gay or lesbian people marrying than adopting children. This is borne out by decades of public opinion polls and by analyzing years of the public discourse surrounding alternative forms of kinship. 

Secondly, this work also affirms that queer people do not have the same reproductive rights as non-queer people. For example, French citizens who happen to be lesbians can legally marry, but cannot access IVF like their hetero compatriots. The French national healthcare system will even cover IVF treatments for French heterosexual couples, but not for legally-married, lesbian couples.  

For decades until 2013, Swedish trans people who wished to officially transition had to undergo sterilization. Without this, they would not be recognized by the government and could not obtain new identification cards. 

What is interesting is that nationalism can explain the negative conceptions of queer parents. National identity plays a huge role in determining the public opinion and discriminatory laws regarding reproductive rights. This is especially clear when considering abortion, same-sex couples adoption, in-vitro fertilization, and sterilization. Using four case studies, Poland, Sweden, France, and the Czech Republic, I provide a historical analysis of the development in national identity construction and limitation of certain reproduction. There is a curious dovetailing of both developments. Basically, the state only wants certain people to reproduce--those who fit in the normative standard of the Legitimate Reproducer. They are often part of the hegemonic group, in terms of race, gender/sexual orientation, class, and ability. This is borne out in four different national settings, with different levels of religiosity and tolerance. 

Nation-building is about promoting certain narratives and values, and there is an "us" and a "them." Understanding this helps one realize that reproduction is more than just having babies. It's about what those babies symbolize--reproducing and strengthening certain values, and certain national, ethnic, and racial categories. Only certain people are considered part of the nation and therefore only certain reproduction is encouraged.

I developed the theory of  "Repronormativity" (i.e. nationalistic, normative reproduction), to show how there is a nation-building motive behind the restrictive laws and negative public opinion for queer parenting.  



University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida



University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida



Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL
Courses in anthropology, history, sociology, and political science

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