S.W. Underwood publishes new article examining journeys to gay fatherhood

April 22, 2024 by Juanita Lam

Congratulations to PhD candidate S.W. Underwood on a new publication in LGBTQ+ Family. The article, “Gay Dads to Be: Reflections on Gender, Sexuality, Family, and Race in Adoption and Surrogacy”, examines how gay men who are prospective fathers make sense of fatherhood, and how this differs depending on whether they pursue fatherhood through surrogacy or adoption. Underwood draws on semi-structured interviews with 23 Canadian fathers-to-be to show that gay men draw on conventional scripts of fatherhood and express masculine competence when pursuing surrogacy. Meanwhile, gay men who look to adopt experience a disruption to masculine competence. Underwood argues that these pressures can be resisted by queer, anti-racist, and feminist consciousness.

S. W. Underwood is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology researching the families of gay fathers. As a SSHRC-funded Joseph-Armand Bombardier scholar, Underwood has published on how different pathways to fatherhood shape gay men's approach to fatherhood while deepening existing inequalities within LGBTQI+ communities. Forthcoming research looks at gay fathers' relationship to community, their embodied experience of primary caregiving, and how gay men reconstruct the father role in the absence of a female primary caregiver in the home.