“Always Thinking About Safety”: African American Lesbian Mothers’ Perceptions of Risk and Well-being

Brie Radis*, Yochay Nadan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Although there is a growing body of knowledge focusing on lesbian families and their parenting experiences, African American lesbian mothers are often underrepresented in research. This qualitative exploratory study aims to understand the constructions and perspectives of African American lesbian mothers, from an urban East Coast area, on risk and well-being. Fifteen in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed at the end of 2016, coinciding with the presidential election yielding main themes that were significant for the participants pertaining to the mothers’ experiences and construction of the challenges and risks to well-being. Main themes first focused on discrimination and insensitivity in everyday spaces; then moved into the effects of political climate on perceived safety and security, conditions and unintended consequences of the coming out process; and ended with strategies for reducing risk. Adoption of an intersectional framework to discuss our findings allowed us to explore the ways in which multiple identities engage to shape experiences and constructions of risk and well-being among African American lesbian parents. The results suggest the importance of context (e.g., political, historical, gender-related, racial) when working with LGBTQ+ families of color.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)950-965
Number of pages16
JournalFamily Process
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Family Process Institute.


  • African American
  • Intersectionality
  • Lesbian
  • Mother
  • Risk
  • Well-Being


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