top of page

What would it look like to queer how we think about, support, and engage in care work? “To queer” means disrupting ideas that, despite seeming commonsensical or being taken-for-granted, reproduce heteronormativity. Imagine an overhaul of the care system as we know it, one in which the mother-child duo is not at its center, one in which the givers of care are not disproportionately feminine. Imagine extensive and communal care systems that transcend the nuclear family structure. While care is often imagined in relation to dependents, and mostly one’s own children, care labors happen far beyond the house and are provided by many people. It is time that we recognize this fact and make care leaves—rather than parental leaves—a policy priority. Care is not and should not be given and received based solely on family ties. The labor of care is and should be dispersed such that friends, neighbors, colleagues, and strangers provide it for one another. We need to decouple care—and paid care leaves—from procreation and from the nuclear family. A paid care leave, rather than a paid parental leave, has the potential to de-center heteronormative and capitalist understandings of what counts as valuable work. Imagine a world in which workers could get a paid leave to start a community garden or to train to become a mechanic, pilates instructor, or chef and after doing so, would offer their knowledge and services free of charge to their community. This is what it means to queer how we think about care.

bottom of page