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Accepted Paper:

Pandemic Immobilities, Reproductive Justice, and Stratified Queer Reproduction in Taiwan  
Sara Friedman (Indiana University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyzes reproductive injustices faced by LGBT intending parents in Taiwan. It examines how pandemic-induced immobilities created new gendered configurations of stratified reproduction that have reoriented queer reproductive desires and reproductive justice initiatives.

Paper long abstract:

This paper analyzes reproductive injustices faced by LGBT intending parents in Taiwan, a country that legalized same-sex marriage in 2019 but continues to limit assisted reproductive technology (ART) access to married, heterosexual couples. It uses the heightened reproductive exclusions imposed by Covid-19 border closures to reflect on structural inequalities that shape queer reproductive desires and reproductive justice initiatives. Drawing on sixty-three interviews with LGBT (intending) parents conducted between 2017-2023 and seven months of ethnographic research in Taiwan at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the paper examines how pandemic-induced immobilities enhanced gendered configurations of stratified reproduction for LGBT intending parents. Taiwan’s status as a Covid-19 “success story” rested in part on its early decision to close its borders to all but citizens and permanent residents (who faced stringent quarantine protocols on arrival), although other countries soon followed suit. Widespread border controls upended longstanding LGBT reproductive strategies of seeking ART access abroad, with Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, and the US frequent destinations for intending lesbian mothers and the US, Canada, and Russia offering legal or quasi-legal surrogacy options for intending gay fathers. Forced immobility stranded intending parents in reproductive limbo, creating different obstacles for gay fathers whose children were born to surrogates abroad during the pandemic and intending mothers who were unable to initiate or complete IVF cycles. These pandemic-induced disruptions spurred new activist initiatives that have coalesced in uneasy, post-pandemic coalitions of lawmakers, bureaucrats, and queer and feminist activists whose ideals of reproductive justice and equality may not always align.

Panel P184
Un/Doing reproduction: transnational reproductive justice in times of (post-)pandemics and anti-gender campaigns
  Session 1