I recently read "Love Makes A Family" book (a beautiful book of photos and interviews with gay, lesbian, bi, and transgendered people and their families) for the first time, and I was struck by the amazing range of families portrayed there.
I was also impressed by how accepting most of the children of these GLBT people were -- to them, their families were even more special than the so-called "normal" families they saw all around them.
So what's your definition of family? And who are really your family? Is it parents, siblings, lovers, children, friends, grandparents, ex-lovers, pets? Are you related by blood, by love, by friendship? Do people around you see your family as a family, or do they think it's something strange? How do you feel about GLBT families?
------------------ Kythryne Scarleteen Advocate
"The only unnatural sexual act is that which you cannot perform." - Alfred Kinsey
[This message has been edited by kythryne (edited 12-05-2001).]
I love it when the idea of the traditional family is challanged. Hopefully, the same people challanging the family concept will finally be able to convince almost everyone over 40 that you can actually be happy if you're not married and completly unattached. Ahh... that'd be great.
My "family" are more my friends than anything, and I think the main reason behind that is because I can choose my friends. I can pick people to be in my group of friends that make up my family that support me. Who know that I make choices in my life that aren't necessarily what is considered the norm, and that I have a lifestyle that isn't traditional, but who still choose to accept me. That's a big part of what family is to me -- acceptance and understanding. Even though it may sound cheesey, my family are the people who will watch me make an ass out of myself, and still love me. Who will understand that I'm the way I am, and not judge me.
That's what a true family is.
------------------ Tim (a.k.a. the dude) ------------------------- "I am man who has grown from a son Been crucified by enraged women I am son who was raised by such men I'm often reminded of the fools I'm among... I am a man who still does what he can to dispel our archaic reputation I am a man who has heard all he can Cause I don't fare well with endless punishment..." -- Alanis Morissette ("A Man")
My family is a large group of people loosely connected by just about every type of bond imaginable. Due to multiple marriages, divorces, and adoptions, marriage is not the way we define family - that would make things far too complicated.
As the title of the books says, love makes a family. However, it's more than love. Dedication and acceptance also make a family. I know that my family will always accept me and that we are dedicated to taking care of each other.
It's really the little things that prove family. My uncles never allow my father (who does not meet my definition of family) to try to make me doubt myself. My aunts make sure that everyone under the age of twenty-five has their shoes tied and their pants right side out. If my grandmother were to so choose she wouldn't have to leave her favorite chair again - there is always someone there to make sure she has everything she needs (at least until she's fully recovered from a recent knee surgery - then she'll have to call). Three days a week I drive my cousin to school so he won't get in trouble on the bus. These tasks may not always be pleasant but they are done without hesitation.
In seventeen years I have never once had reason to doubt that my family would be there for me if I needed them and if I would let them. It is that knowledge alone, not any marriage, blood, or even love, that defines them, beyond any shadow of a doubt, as my family.
My family is my friend and my sister. I don't talk to my mam or dad, they just annoy and upset me, I can't tell them anything about myself, and I basically just wish I could get away from them. My friend is cool. We talk about everything and I've never been so comfortable with someone as with her. I guess that's family then.
Posts: 896 | From: Europe | Registered: Nov 2001
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I think family is deffinetly not something that is just when you are releated by blood.I think family is people who love support and accept each other.My blood family are my mam ,dad, brother and sister and then I have my friends and we were one big family but things aren't so good right now but still I have some really good friends who I love a lot (two in particular) and I have never been as close to anyone as I have been to them.So thats my family
Posts: 11 | From: Ireland | Registered: Nov 2001
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I really don't know who I would include in "my family," and I'm sure it's changed over time.
I would like to mention something about history, though. I recently did an Oral History project for a Women's Studies class of mine; we had to go interview a woman from a different generation and talk about social construction, etc.
The woman I interviewed is a good friend of my mother's, and both of their family histories are very, very similar. Through talking to her, I gained a much greater appreciation of how much influence people in her family had over who she is today, and how I was shaped by former generations in my family as well.
Since challenging the "traditional family structure" seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon in mainstream America, in decades before, there was a lot of pressure to hide the differences, I think it's also really important to look back on where you came from.
While I'm not particularly close to my grandparents or some of my aunts and uncles, they had a huge influence on my parents, who in turn shaped a lot of who I am. So while I wouldn't necessarily call on them in times of trouble, I'd still have to say they were my family because we're so connected [though not really through choice.]
Just my thoughts...
Also, GLBT families rule. I hope to have one someday. ::smiles:: Though I guess... I'm already a part of one.
I've never felt a sense of family in the way that you have all described it. I suppose I love my mum and dad, but I wouldn't say I'm close to them, or even that I trust them. I've never felt a loyalty to anyone just because we share the same genes.
Unfortunately, I don't have any fantastic friends, or other relatives I'm close to, to make up for this. So, despite living with my parents and brother, I often feel very very lonely. I really don't have anybody I can confide in, or anybody I feel attatched to. Which is a shame.
I hope that maybe after I've got throught the 'difficult teenage years', we'll become closer, but because of strong religious differences between myself and my family, I don't think it's very likely. So I would love to start my own family, whether it be with a man or a woman. And raise lots of lovely little children who don't care whether people like men or women, are black or white, or have a religion or not. It's a nice dream anyway.
Posts: 394 | From: Manchester, Lancashire, England | Registered: Dec 2000
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Just thought it would be interesting to add in here that my mother(who I'm not out to) just informed about half an hour ago that she doesn't think its right for a gay couple to have kids, because "It brings children up in a state of confusion". Great. Wait til she hears that I'm gay and want kids more than anything. That should go down well.
Talk to you on all the 26th(How am I going to surivive that long without Scarleteen boards?!!!!!)
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