Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Family Is as Family Does

Is this Ken Starr in one of his Latent Moments, or have I simply failed to see the dental floss between his fingers?

No matter. As I write this he is no doubt getting ready for another big day in court as he works to divorce 18,000 California couples who rushed to be wed before the LDS church and a host of allied bigots rushed to make sure that an oppressed minority would still live under the tyranny of the majority.

What sad business this family values stuff is. I grew up in a family that was, but didn't. My mother worked her tail off to hold us together. My father wandered and rejected my brother who acted like a boy rejected by his dad. Both of them rejected me. We were well provided for materially but not emotionally.

When I was young, the saddest thing I could think about was being consigned to that model of family life. "If it was a job, I wouldn't apply for it," I used to say, full of lost bravado.

To me, happy families (and I do see them from my vantage point at the library--moms and dads taking toddlers to story time, entire broods showing up for family story night, during which time they write and illustrate their own adventures, volunteers telling me about the central place their families play in their lives) are an exotic breed. I gaze at them with the fascination of the outsider.

I remember when my mom, advanced in her Alzheimer's disease here in Vermont, took the phone to talk to my long-abusive brother in California, listened for a minute or two, then quietly placed the phone on the table and turned away. She just couldn't do it anymore, and now she had a disease that permitted her, after a lifetime of herculean efforts, to take her rest.

Sometimes I think that Mom needed that disease. She was an exceptional woman. She had a lot to forget.

In my adult life, having failed to fill in my application, I have nonetheless pulled together my familial impulses. They are hard to discard in their entirety. Here we are: two women who are each other's very best friends and life companions, a dog, three cats, a modest host of cherished friends.

How naive the Ken Starrs and those they represent are to think that they can legislate away the myriad forms that families take. They are protecting the children?? That's their excuse for this perfidy. As if you could, by eliminating a real option for people, force the straight ones among us to automatically become dedicated, functioning, creative, devoted family members. Sorry: outlawing one group does not ennoble another.

The willingness to surrender self to family isn't about sexual orientation. There are plenty of non-functioning heterosexual units, with lots of dazed children whose best hope is to get the hell out of there at the age of reason and to do their best to be authentically themselves. You can't force people to be devoted parents, doting spouses. What you can do is to create a society open enough to a variety of ways to be that we can all find ourselves in it in a positive way.

I don't know what the next steps will be, after Ken Starr's "victory" in the card game of the stacked deck, but I know that his courtroom "triumph" can't last. The thirst for justice has been awakened, and those who have come after my generation are young enough, energetic enough, to see this very real cause through. If careless couples can receive the respect of the state and all the rights conferred thereby, why can't they? Why should their unions be suspect? They are paying the dues with the everyday ups and downs of surrendering something of themselves to this stupefying idea of Us. Why shouldn't they be recognized for what they are?

Why not, indeed?


This so broke my heart Lulu..on every level.. your personal story as well as the plight of the GLBT community gave me chills as I read this.

I hope you don't mind if I put it up on Sirens Chronicles.

I heart you dear woman and it physically hurts and angers me to think that you are viewed or treated any differently than I am.
That was a very sweet, bittersweet post. Knowing you in person, I know what a great nester and family woman you are. You deserve a happy family.
And your brother Colin is a dick.
With family values exemplified by the likes of Rush and Newt, the Torys may come to the end of the line sooner than we think.
All so true, and yes, I do see the dental floss festooned with the rubbish from his mouth.

You know, we were so caught up with the Obama campaign and the hope of transformation that the LGBT community and supporters didn't have the difficult conversations that we should have had, and still need to have, about marriage and equal rights and what it means to have equal protection under the law for our families. We are the last group to be marginalized with legislation of this nature (not that many others aren't still being treated as "less than")and we need to have frank conversations with our "friends" and neighbors who vote against equal rights for anyone. Somehow, I think these people, many who really do have friends that are gay (and they have nothing against us), don't know what it really means to support the concept that marriage should be only be between a man and a woman. Many conversations need to occur. And at some point, if the people that have gay friends don't get it, they lose their pass. . .they are our friends.

I live in California and this fight to take away the rights of my family are so hurtful. It sends such a hateful message to all of our children.
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