The Swedish professor highlights the LGBTQ community’s right to create families. 

A Swedish guest lecturer reflected on her lived experiences within the LGBTQIA community as she discussed kinship and issues of assisted reproduction at a workshop at Wits University on Friday, August 16.

Ulrika Dahl, an anthropologist and professor of gender studies at Uppsala University in Sweden was speaking at the ‘Queer(y)ing kinship in assisted reproduction & LGBTQIA rights age’ workshop hosted by the Wits African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) and the Wits Anthropology department.

Dahl currently leads a project with four other European researchers titled ‘Queer(y)ing Kinship in the Baltic Region’ that investigates how non-heterosexual, or queer, families are made, represented and treated in different national contexts around the Baltic Sea. She said that current research in the area focuses on legal frameworks of assisted reproduction rather than on interrogating how it shapes family making.

Dahl said she “hopes the project’s findings complicate the picture of what LGBTQ families look like”.

The anthropologist, who identifies herself as a queer feminist, has a long history of conducting research in and with the LGBTQ community and draws on her 20 years of queer living for the collective project. “When I was a PhD student in the 90s, we were strongly discouraged from studying things like our own communities,” Dalh said.

Dahl spoke about the various forms of assisted reproduction within the LGBTQ community such as surrogacy and assisted reproduction technologies such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), saying that a new generation of queer researchers” in the social sciences and interdisciplinary fields are developing work in assisted reproduction within the community.

Postdoctoral fellow at ACMS and one of the organisers of the event, B Camminga told Wits Vuvuzela that Wits still has alot of work to do in terms of collaborative research. “I think we are quite siloed in disciplines here at Wits, and there are ways in which we can work on research in a collective manner, altogether”, Camminga said.

FEATURED IMAGE: Ulrika Dahl engages with attendees at the workshop at Wits University. Photo: Tumelo Modiba.