More and more Americans are suffering and dying because they can’t get decent health care, and gays want weddings. What happened to us? Where have our communities gone? Did gays really sell out that easily? Marriage is an institution used primarily to consolidate privilege, and we think real change will only come from getting rid of a system that continually doles out privilege to a few more, rather than trying to reform it. We know that most families, straight or gay, don’t fit in with the standards for marriage, and see many straight families being penalized for not conforming to the standard the government has set: single moms trying to get on welfare, extended family members trying to gain custody, friends kept from being each other’s legal representatives... We are seeing a gay political agenda become single-issue to focus on marriage and leave behind many very serious issues such as social, economic, and racial justice.Like all of us who are critiquing marriage as a source of civil rights, the queer spawn are not attacking your relationship or mine.
What queer spawn are asking for is a rejection of the idea that queer families are like "everyone else". "Like everyone else" is code for "like the dominant groups' ideal family"- which means straight, white, middle-class, nuclear families living somewhere in the suburbs- a group of people who make up fewer than 1/5 of the population. Queer spawn are pointing out that very few families- queer or straight- are like "everyone else." They are calling on everyone, but especially their "elders," to work for a system and a movement that recognizes the diversity of family configurations as they actually exist.
We think long-term monogamous partnerships are valid and beautiful ways of structuring and experiencing family, but we don’t see them as any more inherently valuable or legitimate than the many other family structures.
Queer Kids of Queer Parents Against Gay Marriage!. When I first met my "queer spawn" student, she was pretty convinced that gay marriage was a revolution. Over the years, however, she became less convinced. After her father broke up with his long-term partner, whom she still considered a parent, my student realized that her gay family was now not part of the gay marriage movement. One of her friends was raised by 4 mothers- the original pairing and then, after they split, the two new parents. How did the gay marriage movement represent their lives? Her dads, who were never married and were no longer even together? Her friend's moms? The more she thought about it, she and other "queer spawn" were not terribly well represented by the gay marriage movement. Not only that, but she was unclear whether the people pushing the marriage agenda cared about larger, more important issues like health care or ending the wars. Eventually, she started to see gay marriage as diverting attention from what really mattered in the world, but also as a movement that refused to recognize the lived experiences of most queer families- who are, like most straight families, not living the "ideal" nuclear family dream. That's how it is with queer kids raised in queer families. They grow up with crazy ideas about economic and racial justice. They are fed a feminist critique of marriage as a patriarchal institution with their mamas' milk or their papas' formula. And when they feel like their community, the one they grew up in and felt supported by, is being hi-jacked by people who don't care about them, they speak up. Thank God for queer kids today.
We write this feeling as if we have to grab our community back from the clutches of the gay marriage movement. We’re frightened by its path and its incessant desire to assimilate. Believe it or not, we felt incredibly safe, happy, taken care of, and fulfilled with the many queer biological and chosen parents who raised us without the right to marry. Having grown up in queer families and communities we strongly believe that queers are not like everyone else... Our families are tangled, messy and beautiful – just like so many straight families who don’t fit into the official version of family.