Tanya Bakhru

Tanya BakhruProfessor,

Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences


Current Research Activities

For my next RSCA project, I want to investigate the relationship between the foster care system, the formation of queer families, and reproductive justice. Currently, the use of the foster care system by LGBT couples to create a family is not only common but in many instances promoted by child welfare agencies. The experiences of gay and lesbian families engaged in adoption through foster care highlight many of the tensions that exist between foster/adoption process and notions of reproductive justice. In my new research project, “Queering the Foster Care System for Reproductive Justice,” I will explore the ways in which LGBT foster parents simultaneously benefit and suffer from the stigmatizing of racialized and gendered groups that rationalizes the separation of a targeted community of parents from their children.

What contributed to your research interests?

This is a very personal project for me because my spouse and I utilized the foster care system to adopt our son an create our family. It was during the course of our own adoption journey that I started to formulate these research questions.

How does your research relate to current issues?

Using the Kinship Center Foster Family Agency in San Jose as a resource, I will employ a snowball sampling method to conduct semi-structured qualitative interviews with LGBT foster parents. I will examine the experiences of LGBT parents of children who have been or are currently in foster care and explore how reproductive justice frameworks carry the potential to reconcile the tensions between the problematic nature of the foster care system and the simultaneous use of that system by LGBT couples to create families. There is a dearth of scholarly work that addresses reproductive justice and foster care specifically. I see my work contributing to Reproductive Justice Theory, LGBT Studies, and Gender Studies discourses.

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