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Showing Our Family Values

July 19, 2008
NY Times Image of Rosies Annual Cruise

NY Times Image of Rosie's Annual Cruise

When I was an undergrad at Syracuse University, Mr. Pat Buchanan himself came to speak at the chapel that served as our free speech zone. Always a believer in knowing my enemies, I went to hear him and managed to snag a seat in the very front row. Sitting alongside a twitchy young woman with a folded sheet on her lap, I listened to him deftly avoid every controversial topic we knew him for, focusing instead on uniting concepts like improving our chances for getting jobs upon graduation. At the end of his lecture, just when the crowd seemed least sure of what to do, a group of protesters who were spread throughout the chapel stood quietly and assumed their places. Pairs of lesbians rose from the seated audience and began their kiss-in, long lines of liberals formed behind the micophones with question sheets in hand, and my neighbor on the front row bench sprung to the front of the room with her sheet. It turns out that her friend didn’t make it, so she took my hand in mid-leap and I joined her. Heady with the moment, there I was holding a homemade banner with an unknown message. I smiled at the room, spotting several of my professors, along with my confused boyfriend. Then I leaned back to read my banner, squinting through the sheet at the backwards, hand-painted words.

“Gay Families Have Values, Too”

Within the week, one of my classmates lost her job after a photo of her taken during the kiss-in reached her employer. She became the most important housemate I ever had even though we ended on terms that, in retrospect, I am not proud of. I learned a lot from her, and from that event. Her former employers at the childcare center didn’t seem to agree with our banner, but the truth of it is difficult to deny for those who spend any amount of time with same-sex parents and their children. All families have values of one sort or another; that’s inherent in the definition of the word. But those politically hot Family Values? One would expect to find them in homes where parents value their children, pour their hearts and resources into them, and never take for granted their ability to hold them close. Where are you more likely to find those kinds of Family Values than in a crowd of gay- and lesbian-headed households?

This morning’s NY Times published an article on Rosie O’Donnell’s annual R Family Vacations charter cruise, filled with food and Broadway music. The whole article is worth a read, but the first 5 and final 3 paragraphs are a soul-felt reminder of the real life application of this type of family’s values. Take a look for a refreshing alternative to photos of gay Pride events. Pride has a very important place in our culture, but most same-sex families would rather plod around in their Crocs, sharing icecreams at the park (or on the cruise ship) instead. I wonder if Rosie would be interested in bringing a relationship-oriented sexuality educator on board for next year…

NY Times article – here

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