2008 Blogging for LGBT Families day

Today is the Third Annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day, an occasion to celebrate the beauty of non-traditional families. Kate and I are a child-free couple, but we're doting aunts, and completely out of the closet to those we love. It means that nieces and nephews will grow up knowing us without a thought to our orientation, that it's not a dark family secret or a guessing game.

The existence of thriving LGBT families of all shapes and sizes is a grave threat to the Dominionists who see life and love through a very narrow religious worldview, as if morality and good child-rearing is only present in a mother/father parented family. Even though all sorts of configurations of families exist -- grandparents raising children, single parents, etc. -- we have seen an obsessive focus by the right on denying LGBTs the ability to adopt or foster children, and to deny committed same-sex couples to marry, even though these are culturally and socially stabilizing institutions.

It's amazing to think that legislators like NC State Sen. Jim Forrester (R) are so hell-bent on making legal life difficult for LGBT families here in our state that one day into the legislative session he introduced his marriage amendment bill -- Senate Bill 1608. Issues that all families care about -- education, health care, unemployment -- were not Forrester's priority.

That's why the visibility of LGBT families -- and taking time out to honor them -- is what will bring about change over time - the fossils of fear cannot continue to ignore the children growing up who don't see their different families as odd, strange or immoral.

Comments

why visibility is important

If families come out of the shadows, it diminishes the impact of fear and smear campaigns.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

Visibility IS important

As with most things there is a progression to be had.
Exposure brings acclimation.
Acclimation brings tolerance.
Tolerance brings acceptance.
Acceptance brings friendship.
Friendship brings love.

Thanks, Pam.

Visibility is definitely important, in all matters. Heck, last year when I told a Johnston representative that the son of a well spoken middle-class white woman (my son) didn't have his license because his mom couldn't possibly afford what that would have done to her autoinsurance bill, he looked truly surprised and quite taken back.

No disrespect meant, but it just seems that folks in "ruling class" circles live such insular lives, up and apart from us "others" that they just don't get it. And to add to the problem, when I know a man or woman is soooooo virulently anti-LGBT, I'm much less likely to let him know I am LGBT, so s/he's much less likely to realize that he know's, likes and respects people who are LGBT. It's like a mad circle.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

It's true, Leslie.

And to add to the problem, when I know a man or woman is soooooo virulently anti-LGBT, I'm much less likely to let him know I am LGBT, so s/he's much less likely to realize that he know's, likes and respects people who are LGBT. It's like a mad circle.

I find myself in the same position - and am never quite sure how to break that mad circle. I suppose its fear that stops me - in this little town. I'll get there.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

it is hard, but possible

I'm certainly not going to out myself in a situation that might be dangerous, but overall, coming out in day to day life (and even more so because of my online presence), I've actually not found it to be a problem. I think internalized homophobia (no small thing) is the highest hurdle to leap over, as is the fear of rejection by those who do know you, particularly in a small town. Everyone has their comfort zone. The bottom line is that coming out is a process because you don't just do it once; you have to do it in many circles, to many people, and that is hard.

But the fact of the matter is that the level of my visibility isn't particularly "activist"; it's nothing most straight couples do without incident - I have a picture of Kate on my desk, I speak casually or blog about stuff we do on the weekend (like yard work) with co-workers, etc. It's perceived as activism by those who are uncomfortable with it. Those types of small actions are ones that make it possible for change to happen over time. Quite frankly, my Alabama in-laws, who were not gay affirming by any stretch of the imagination (and had problems with my color to boot), eventually came around. You do have to take a leap of faith.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

Leap of faith

I am fortunate that my family has been accepting. My mom is a wonderful, loving person who just doesn't care about orientation, gender identification, or any of that. My brothers have grudgingly come around. They are not comfortable, but they accept us. We've lost a lot of family members, and made a pact not to consciously cut any one out or off for any reason. I'm more worried about jobs and relationships, especially within the county party. We're very active, and except for a few close friends (Momo and her hubby), we're not out there. What a day that will be. And the day will come. Sooner rather than later, I expect.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

I wanted to add

That my son has known about my spouse being transgendered since before he met her. He was in the 4th grade, and he said, "oh, okay." Together, we've raised an intelligent, wonderful young man who loves both of us, and who takes every opportunity to insult everyone. He's proud to call her a parent, and she's proud to call him son. We are very much a family, and a happy one at that.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors