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June 01, 2007

Comments

Hannah G

"Family is supposed to be permanent...."

Where'd ya hear that?!!

"...but one of the things queerness teaches you is that it isn't."

Uh, no. One of the things that -life- teaches you is that family (along with most of our other early childhood concepts) isn't permanent. And it teaches you that all kinds of people get killed every day because they're people; and all kinds of teenagers commit suicide every day because our world is desperately hopeless. But still, most of us soldier on.

Queerness is a teeny tiny drop in the anomaly bucket compared to the to the flood of suffering that globally and historically has been described as "living." So let's not get all heroic and self-aggrandizing about the luxuries we mistake for burdens, yeah?

My family happens to be LBGT, but that's a trivial footnote compared to its status as a family that has decent food to eat, and a not-very-leaky roof over its heads, and a bit of peace and quiet that exempts it from worrying about bombs falling during the night, or arms being blown off on the way to street-begging sessions tomorrow, or fatal bacteria in its drinking water....

May you and Ms. P and R celebrate your existence, your friendship, your relative comfort, and your relative safety, in joy and harmony. And may your collective fantasies about "family" drop away soon!

Pronoia

Hannah--

You're right that, if we're talking "permanent" as "never dying," well, nothing is permanent. Least of all family.

In this case, thought, I was using permanent to mean (perhaps unclearly!) "non-negotiable." Family is family, no matter what.

It isn't only queer people who get disowned, become "throwaways," get ostracized, etc. from their families, but it happens to queer people as a group more than it happens to other groups.

This, really, is what I was trying to point to. For those of us who grew up being told that family was non-negotiable, no matter what they said or did, seeing how often that literally isn't true is sobering and sometimes frightening.

And yes, we do celebrate our relative unscathedness along with our quite-large privilege--we know how very lucky we are in that regard!

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