Family / Identity / Life / Parenting

By Any Other Name

photo (3)When I was first invited to write for this project, my first question was about the site’s name.  I knew I wanted to be a part of this site and to work with this amazing group of people, but the name – Lesbian Family – didn’t quite fit for me.  I don’t often use the word lesbian to refer to myself anymore – and I never use it to refer to my family.  I like the word lesbian – and for a long time it suited me quite well.  But then I fell in love with someone who doesn’t identify as a woman – and well, I didn’t quite fit the definition.  Since then I’ve had a love affair with the word “queer.”

I appreciate that it was reclaimed from a derogatory insult and because of that has politically radical connotations.  I like it because it encompasses not just sexual orientation, but sexuality at large, and gender expression, and politics.  Its non-specificity is its beauty.  In a world that’s trying to pit us all against each other it’s nice to have a term that fits so broad a demographic.  Not to mention that it’s a shortcut when essentialist identity politics require a lengthy explanation.  The nitty-gritty details about one’s identity can be deeply personal – especially when you are still figuring them out (or in the cases of families with small children, don’t yet have a complex understanding of the nuances of gender and sexuality) – so having a flexible term that can bend and stretch to fit makes sense.

Our identities are always growing and evolving.  I know that when I added “parent” to my list of identities it eclipsed everything else for a bit – just like when I first came out of the closet being queer took center stage for a while.  Depending on the day and the situation each of my identities bubbles to the top from time to time – feminist, Latina, daughter, sibling, lefty, fat, urbanite…  But the others are still there and they each inform who I am.  They also inform who my family is.  We have a queer family.  Our kids will grow up “culturally queer.”

So what happened when I expressed hesitation about belonging at a site titled “Lesbian Family?”  I was met with reassurance that this community was larger and more inclusive than that name implied and that it was working toward not only talking that talk, but walking the walk.  And here we are.  That day has come – now our name and image will more closely match our hearts and minds.  We are welcoming some phenomenal new voices to the team.  We will keep striving to reflect a broad cross-section of our queer village and to fill in the voices still missing.  And I’m still so very proud to be here.

 

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One Comment

  1. I love the way that so many of us are coming out of the closet as not being all that comfortable under the heading “lesbian” now that we have the new title. It makes the whole site feel more like home.

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