Cover Photo: A photo collage with photos provided by the author. A large photo of a soggy field with a chicken tractor, with trees and clouds in the background, is overlaid with photos of a chicken and baby chick, a cow, and a flock of chickens.
Photographs courtesy of the author

Even in a Queer Marriage, There’s the Familiar Trap of Gender Roles

The wall that divided us in those early weeks of my first child’s infancy became a continued separation.

One Saturday in April, I left breakfast on the counter for my children, stepped into my chore boots, and opened the gate to the back pasture. There, my partner knelt in the wet grass as she attached our chicken coop to our riding mower with a pull chain. Our coop was on wheels and every week we moved it so that our laying hens would have access to new forage. My partner connected the coop to the mower like it was second nature, like she had no fear that the chain would come undone, that the mower would get stuck in a rut, that our coop would topple. Not me. As I stood there, I wondered how I’d handle this chore if she died.




Jennifer Berney writes to explore the human state of longing. Her essays have appeared in Wired, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Longreads, and many other places. Her book, The Other Mothers, tells the story of her journey to parenthood and the obstacles she faced navigating the fertility industry as a queer woman.