"Two sides of a coin" : nuances of maternal identity for lesbian mothers

When lesbian motherhood is discussed in psychological research, it is often with the assumption that two identities—mother and lesbian—are contradictory. I examine how lesbian mothers’ sexual identity influences their parental identity. In an analysis of 11 interviews with lesbian mothers, seven thematic nuances were explored: contradictions in identities, forging connection, experiences of discrimination, community formation, legal access, language use, and queering parenting. Findings suggest identity integration for lesbian mothers involves nuanced experiences that are not necessarily negative and do not inherently involve contradictions between the identities of “lesbian” and “mother.” When lesbian mothers experience tension in their identities, it is often because of outsiders’ influence, such as using non-inclusive language or posing invasive questions about paths to parenthood or biological connections with children.