We are family

Not so long ago, ‘family friendly’ was a coded allusion to ‘gays not welcome’. Family was what straight people had and LGBT folk were left to the outer circles of these; sometimes invited to family events (sans partner of course), often not, and the isolation and hurt caused by this exclusion commonly created an unrepairable rift within families. Many older LGBT people never managed to heal the damage caused by this, and passed away without the love and support that families should provide, simply because they happened to be gay.

Fortunately, this is changing. Our families tend to be more accepting; after the initial wringing-of-hands-what-will-I-tell-your-grandfather, they work hard on trying to accept that we will not be following exactly in their footsteps (little do they know, we still take on their annoying traits, we just subject our same-sex partner to them instead) and some parents even force extended family to challenge their own prejudice by proudly dragging us and our partners to all family events and loudly announcing our presence whilst looking triumphantly around for praise/negativity/any reaction at all.

However, there is still a lingering, exclusionary ring around this concept of family. Pride events are still hailed in some parts of the western world as being ‘not family-friendly’. The images of scantily-clad people dancing to Kylie Minogue with pink poms-poms are what fill the minds of the decision makers on local councils; in my mind, these images are no more offensive than a typical H & M bikini advertisement on a bus stop. Unless…hang on…perhaps the offence relates to the pink dancers potentially being men and this of course, will throw little Benny’s concept of gender out the window, he will demand nail polish and tiaras and refuse to answer to any name but Delilah-Rose on the car ride home. Seeing people kiss or dance or wear the same amount of clothes they do on the beach, is NOT offensive, nor is it going to change the sexual orientation/gender identity of a child. Overt sexual behaviour isn’t appropriate for children, however any Pride march I’ve been to has been verging on sex-LESS; lesbian Mums, gay Dads, trans people with partners and children, drag queens slinking along the street (much to the delight of the kids), colourful floats, desperate-to-be-seen-but-slightly-uncomfortable politicians and supportive grandmothers complaining about sore feet. In fact, the least family friendly aspect of Pride is the cohort of religious extremists standing behind their police cordon preaching non-acceptance and hate.

LGBT people have children. We are family. We are Mums, Dads, Auntys, Uncles and Grandparents. How we perform these roles is dependent on our morals, our patience, our dedication and our responsibility, NOT on our gender or sexual identity. And to Senor Fernando Gómez (the Tourism alderman of Spanish Democratic Party of Blanes) who says “It is inconsistent to promote gay tourism along with family tourism and sporting events”, I’m sorry sir, but I have a family, I am an athlete and I am a pretty big fan of holidays. Now let’s get together and talk about inconsistency.

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‘Gay’ is not an insult!

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  1. #1 by radicalgayfamilyagenda on May 10, 2011 - 1:31 pm

    Love this blog. I am subscribing! Due to recent comments in the media from religious leaders and politicians about “The Radical Gay Agenda”, I have a different take on presenting my family to the world. I am taking a sarcastic approach to a day in the life of a “radical” gay family. Take a look at my blog when you get a chance and consider adding to your blogroll.
    http:/radicalgayfamilyagenda.wordpress.com

    Take care,
    Tommy Starling

  2. #2 by diversityrolemodels on May 10, 2011 - 1:59 pm

    Thanks Tommy. Will have a look when we get a chance. You’re so right though – there is a strange obsession with a non-existent agenda. I think it’s a smoke screen for politicians to avoid talking about ‘real’ issues…call me a conspiracy theorist!

  3. #3 by Esther on May 11, 2011 - 10:18 pm

    The one phrase here that rang so true to me was this:
    “the least family friendly aspect of Pride is the cohort of religious extremists standing behind their police cordon preaching non-acceptance and hate.”
    The one thing I don’t want my child to be is a person who practices (or preaches) hate. Who she loves and how she expresses that love is none of my business or concern.
    Another great post!

    • #4 by diversityrolemodels on May 12, 2011 - 6:15 pm

      And what a fantastic Mum you must be! You have a very lucky daughter…

  4. #5 by Giselle on May 14, 2011 - 8:38 pm

    Exactly! I was thinking the same as Esther. The sentence: ‘the least family friendly aspect… preaching non-acceptance and hate’ was the one that stood out for me as well.
    I wonder what those people stand -for- when all they do is stand -against- issues, esp gay rights and equality. When we achieve marriage equality it will not change their marriages, when LGBT people get employment protections and benefits, it will not change theirs. When LGBT people adopt children who would otherwise remain in care, then that’s to be commended. So what I don’t get is: where exactly is the problem? And why are those people so filled with hate? I find that incomprehensible.
    The world becomes a better place with each and every person who becomes more thoughtful and more open-minded. And for that to happen personal stories are so very important, vital even: when you get to know someone it’s nowhere near as easy to discriminate.
    Thank you for your blog.

  5. #6 by diversityrolemodels on May 15, 2011 - 10:40 am

    It is strange Giselle. When you hear (particularly American) right wing politicians heavily criticising any move towards equality as being ‘family destroying’ and part of the ‘gay agenda’, I am confused too. It is partially religion (although I believe this to be a poor excuse – the basic tenets of religion are love, kindness and respect -these aren’t exclusive of LGBT people) and it is mostly ignorance. Most generations have grown up with homophobia being the accepted, almost encouraged status quo. As more people feel safe enough to come out, the wider populace realise that their bigoted views don’t resonate with the ‘normal’ people they are now exposed to and change their opinions. Fortunately, being homophobic is less acceptable now and straight people are starting to challenge their friends in the same way we’ve done with racism. Although sexual orientation is less visible and more fluid than skin colour, we will increase our visibility and change minds in that way. Hopefully our programme will do this on a larger scale so the next generation aren’t as ignorant. We can get there!

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  1. Mombian » Blog Archive » Blogging for LGBT Families Day: Contributed Posts
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