A Real Parent — On Queer Parenthood

A timely book about the most timeless of experiences

Who or what is ‘family’? Who gets to be a parent? And what happens when a family deviates from the standard heterosexual norm? These questions are central to the essay collection 'A Real Parent: On Queer Parenthood' by Eke Krijnen.

Original title
Een echte ouder. Over queer ouderschap
Eke Krijnen

In part, the essays in A Real Parent spring from personal experience – Krijnen and her wife have two children; the father is a good friend of the couple, and the children alternate between the two households. The book is dotted with scenes from their family life, such as an old acquaintance asking Krijnen in the playground which of her two children is ‘really’ hers (she and her wife birthed one child each).

In addition, Krijnen examines representations of (queer) parenthood in film, literature and the law, and draws on the work of theorists such as Sara Ahmed and Judith Butler to argue that while queer – or ‘rainbow’ – families are increasingly common, their acceptance in culture and the law is not. And so, as queer families, ‘We still have to fight for our place. Here we are, we exist, we are a family, we are real.’

A Real Parent is a gentle, often funny and nuanced work of literary non-fiction, as well as an urgent call to action. Krijnen builds a case for the importance of the legal recognition of families with more than two parents, and argues for ‘kinship’ as a key to a new and better way to understand family relationships. With queer families under attack in some countries, and the traditional nuclear family no longer appealing to a growing number of (would-be) parents in other countries, A Real Parent is an incredibly timely book.

  • Essays examining the nature, definition and experience of parenthood today

  • Reframes the concept of family from ‘nuclear’ to a more inclusive model

  • Combines personal experience with a close reading of film, literature and the law

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Hayo Deinum
Sample translation available

In her essay collection 'A Real Parent', Krijnen interrogates with a keen, witty pen the societal ideas that underlie intrusive questions asked without shame.

De Volkskrant

In a fiery plea for the recognition of her multi-parent family, she meticulously picks apart the myths and realities surrounding having and raising children.

Eke Krijnen
Eke Krijnen (b. 1985) is a writer, teacher, and linguist. Her essays have been published in major Dutch and Belgian newspapers. Krijnen holds a PhD in educational linguistics and teaches linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. She lives with her family in Amsterdam where she fights for the acceptance and legal protection of queer families. This is her first book.
Part ofNon-Fiction
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