Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Redefining Family

As a queer academic and activist, I believe that the power of linguistic redefinition is critical to LGBT politics. Often times, when I use the term "family" to refer to the relationsihp between myself and my partner, people assume that we have children. We are so saturated with normative definitions of "family" that even in our progressive LGBT circles we still assume that when one uses the term "family" they are implicitly referencing children. My partner is my family and whether we have children or not has no bearing on my use or understanding of the term "family."

I see my work not simply as a call to attain equal rights for LGBT persons, but also to redefine terms such as family so that they can account for all types of configurations of loving individuals. (I suspect that many of you are thinking right now "this is exactly what the Right is scared of...what are we advocating for polyamory now?! My response: Sure, as long as it is between consenting adults who share love for one another.) We have the power to push the barriers of language and to redefinie terms in order to make them more inclusive.

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