Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 172 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Glenna Spitze

Committee Members

Christine Bose, Katherine Trent


fertility aspiration, fertility studies, gay men, parental aspiration, parental desire, Young gay men, Gay fathers, Father and child, Parenting

Subject Categories

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Today’s young gay men are experiencing life choice options in manners greater than any prior generation of gay men, particularly when considering family building. These men are coming out at earlier ages and facing a socio-political world of increased legal rights and opportunities, among which is the opportunity to parent outside of a heterosexual past. Informed by interviews with 51 gay men, aged 18-35, this research explores the personal views of today’s young gay men about parenting. While past research has primarily focused upon the views of gay men who were already parenting, thus recalling past aspirations, this project focuses on the current views of gay men who have yet to pursue parenthood. Central discussions have explored the views of gay men who desire or are yet undecided about wanting children, as well as those men who actively speak to a preference to remain childfree. Among these three groups, how they are personally constructing their parental desires, what they perceive the pros and cons of parenting to be, and the manner in which their aspiration influences intimate and family relationships are examined. These views are additionally contextualized to the men’s cultural observations of media and political climate. Despite social and historic assumptions that a gay identity implies a childfree path, these men particularly speak to the emergent and active consideration of parenthood by many. One may no longer presume a gay identity is incompatible with a fathering identity—it is a choice to be made at the individual level.