Not until nearly three decades into my life could I begin living as my complete self. My journey out of those early years from shame into pride and defiance evolved the way people often come into our own, through movements for social change.
Posted on Sep 10, 2013
As lesbian feminists, we always believed the institution of state-sanctioned marriage was oppressive to all women and alternative relationships. Being anti-marriage is not anti-love nor a disrespect for loving commitments and bonds between people. Celebrations of love, ceremonies shared with friends and family, and joining lives together should not require state sanction.
As same-sex marriage grew to dominate other issues facing LGBTQ people, many of us questioned this priority and spoke out. We wanted to evolve beyond marriage, and expand absolute rights- single-payer healthcare, affordable childcare, housing, and free public education to everyone. Alternatively, our contribution to society can be to change the concept of marriage completely. An incredible amount of money, time and energy continues to be locked into gaining marriage for gays in the mold of traditional, heterosexual marriage. Why would LGBTQ people want to preserve traditional marriage? Is it even possible or desirable for LGBTQ people to imitate this state-sanctioned institution? We as LGBTQ people have a perspective outside the dominant culture and often contribute to societal breakthroughs. It is through the uniqueness of our oppression, through our experimentation with roles and gender changes that we offer new ways of being and living together. Most LGBTQ people and many straight people do not fit the current pattern of marriage. We may live alone, or live in a collective, live with one or more partners, or share the care of children, elders, or friends. LGBTQ people do need the right to designate and pass on our pensions and social security benefits to partners or friends, to be recognized as legal parents or guardians. All those 1,114 rights granted only to married couples belong to everyone regardless of marital, or citizen status, or sexual orientation.
How could we go beyond same-sex marriage to create a society that honors all the forms of relationships and supports our diverse communities?