Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Family Values Rant

Family values. OK, you want to talk family values?

How do any of the following support, encourage or strengthen families:

  • Telling parents their gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender child is sick or crazy and that the parents should force them to “change” or kick them out of the house?
  • Allowing children to remain in the limbo of foster care (I’m not down on foster care, but it isn’t a permanent home) rather than allow them to be adopted by (gasp!) same-sex couples.
  • Telling the public in general that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in their families are sick, evil, etc.

Do these Koncerned Konservative Kristians (thanks for the term, LC) who spout that sort of nonsense think that GLBT folks are hatched, for Pete’s sake? I can safely say that every single GLBT person I have known grew up in a family. We are families, we have families. We have brothers and sisters and parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, not to mention step-versions and great-versions of each of these, many of whom are loving and supportive of us just as we are, and of our partners, too. We ARE sisters, brothers, etc. How does scapegoating us contribute to the well-being of OUR families? And do those Koncerned Konservative Kristians think they don’t have any GLBT family members? They just don’t know about it, is my guess—I know I’d be way deep in the closet, or out of the family if my relations were of like mind with the Koncerned Konservative Kristians.

My point is, this yammer about “family values” serves to polarize and separate: it makes a false dichotomy, assuming that GLBT people have no relationship, no connection to anything like a family—no parents, no children, no spouse (many of us have been or are in heterosexual marriages), no cousins or sisters or brothers. We’re in our own hedonistic, self-focused world of fashion, sex, cats, and the club scene—according to those who want to use us as a scapegoat. As opposed, of course, to the Koncerned Konservative Kristians, who are part of a close-knit, caring family that plays soccer on weekends and visits Grandma every weekend.

Guess what? I have friends, same-sex couples, who do that too—visit Grandma, play soccer with the kids, take cupcakes to school for the kids birthdays, build a deck on Memorial Day weekend.

Life ain’t that easy, simple or polarized, but it makes a good sound-bite to portray it that way.

Is it any wonder that one of the anthems of GLBT Pride parades is “We Are Family!”?

And I think of Sojourner Truth and her cry, “Ain’t I a woman?” (Read her speech here: She pointed out that no one wanted to treat her like women were “supposed” to be treated (helped over puddles, go first through doorways)—and yet she was a woman. And she pointed out that she did as much as any man--worked in the fields, raised her children before they were sold away from her. But she was a woman.

Well, we—gay men, lesbians, bisexual people and transgender people—we are family members too. We have families, are part of a network of families. But the not-so-religious right isn’t treating us as if we are. Because it's easier to see us as not like the rest of the planetary population, when in fact, we are a part of it.

Ain’t we family, too?

Yes, we are.

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