I often tire of the labels that those against LGBT people put on our families. They say they fight for "traditional marriage" and preserving "traditional families", as if there is such a thing. Their close-mindedness extends beyond just our community and hits any family that doesn't have some idyllic 1950's "Leave it to Beaver" scenario with mom, pop, kids, and a picket fence.
Whether it be our loving LGBT relationships, our chosen family of friends and support network, children raised by someone other than their biological parents, or single parent homes, we all get stuck with the same label by the fundamentalist crowd:
As someone who grew up with what they would view as the perfect scenario for a family- 2 parents for the three kids- I can say I much prefer the stability and love of the family I have built now.
As much as I dislike labels, I often refer to the circle of love and support as my chosen family. It includes not only my husband and our son, but also our close friends, extended family, and others. As they say, "It takes a village"- and we have built our little tribe up to withstand just about anything life could throw at us.
I sometimes wonder how people can put their lives and families into such a little, constricting definition. By expanding my view of what family is beyond just what I was raised with, I have gained strength, support, and joy. In fact, when I started to deal with some of the difficulties part of my "traditional" family caused me, it was my real, chosen family that got me through it.
That's why I think that our greatest strength as a community are our families, however you choose to personally define it (or rather, not define it all). We show others that even through discrimination, adversity, and not being recognized in the eyes of the law, we thrive.
There's an old saying that "you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your family." Thankfully, our community is leading the way in breaking that stereotype. We know that family isn't in the genes, it's in the love you surround yourself with.
For more "Blogging for LGBT Families Day 2009" blogs, visit Mombian.com