Once in a while I get serious about things, usually about 3AM when no one’s looking, which probably means I’ve gotten blitzed on whatever is handy and performed the entire “Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall” album to whoever happens to be staggering through my squalid excuse for a living room. My “guests”, as I charitably call them, tend to pass out with their heads lolling on their chests around about “Puttin’ On the Ritz”, or even sooner once they realize I’m not Rufus Wainwright. And I mean really. Is anyone Rufus Wainwright?
But today is Family Day here in Ontario, which I really have to talk to you about, so I’m getting serious in broad daylight and staying straight until I finish this post. Well OK maybe a little spliff. That’s awesome, what was your name again, sweetie?
So. Family Day. In the 1980’s, when hair was big but conservative minds had shrunk smaller than a gnat’s asshole, the American right-wing co-opted the word “family” in such homely, Orwellian phrases as “Family Values”. Which was code for “Get The Fags”, conservatives not being generally celebrated for their snappy conversation or their subtlety.
What conservatives meant to do with such phrases was to meme-ify and own the meaning of “family”; to fix it forever as “the values of big-haired conservative/republican white middle-class just-plain-folks christian heterosexuals”. Which values did not apparently include the words empathy, open-mindedness, generosity, charity or inclusiveness, possibly, at least in part, because conservatives are too corn-pone stupid to spell them.
These social terrorists wanted “family” to be as sterile and closed and hopeless a concept as a gated community, another hideous invention of that hideous decade.
Flash forward: Now, thanks to Marriage Equality gradually becoming law all over the U.S. (in Canada we’ve had it for years), the world is finally beginning to acknowledge what gay men have known all their lives: That a family is something you can whip up yourself, to your taste, from your choice of the ingredients to hand, not some preserved-in-Jell-o concoction from your granny’s generation, cooked up behind closed doors by the likes of Phyllis Schlafly then doled out to you like so many sanctimonious spoonfuls of church-basement ambrosia.
Family is flexible, mutable, ad hoc, and of the moment. This new attitude worldwide might just mark the rebirth of what used to be called “community”, a word that contains the meaning of “togetherness”.
Family means: The people who love and support you. The people you can turn to when you’ve made a mistake – not to approve your mistake, but to reaffirm that they still love you despite.
The people who accept you just as you are. The people who love you precisely because of who you are.
People you can share your most intimate secrets with. People you don’t need to keep secrets from. The people who say good things about you behind your back.
The people who stick with you forever, and you with them, as you teach each other the true meaning of commitment.
The people I choose, regardless of gender, of age, their skin color, how much money they make, what kitchen appliances they own or what position in society they hold.
Who’s your family, Phyllis?
OK, end of seriousness episode. Jesu Maria. Remind me not to try that again when I’m straight. Heads up, dudes, I feel another “Rufus” coming on…
“Ladies and Gentlemen – it’s Liza at the Winter Garden!”
** DISCLAIMER: My use of the above photograph (not mine) is to illustrate equal marriage and is used solely for that purpose. No one depicted in this photo has endorsed, or otherwise, the contents of my post, nor has FreedomToMarry.org, nor is my use of this image intended to create that impression. The author takes sole responsibility for the opinions stated.