Tuesday May 10, 2011
Not so long ago, 'family friendly' was a coded allusion to 'gays not welcome'. Family was what straight people had and LGBT folk were left to the outer circles of these; sometimes invited to family events (sans partner of course), often not, and the isolation and hurt caused by this exclusion commonly created an unrepairable rift within families. Many older LGBT people never managed to heal the damage caused by this, and passed away without the love and support that families should provide, simply because they happened to be gay.
Fortunately, this is changing. Our families tend to be more accepting; after the initial wringing-of-hands-what-will-I-tell-your-grandfather, they work hard on trying to accept that we will not be following exactly in their footsteps (little do they know, we still take on their annoying traits, we just subject our same-sex partner to them instead) and some parents even force extended family to challenge their own prejudice by proudly dragging us and our partners to all family events and loudly announcing our presence whilst looking triumphantly around for praise/negativity/any reaction at all.
However, there is still a lingering, exclusionary ring around this concept of family. Pride events are still hailed in some parts of the western world as being 'not family-friendly'. The images of scantily-clad people dancing to Kylie Minogue with pink poms-poms are what fill the minds of the decision makers on local councils; in my mind, these images are no more offensive than a typical H & M bikini advertisement on a bus stop. Unless…hang on…perhaps the offence relates to the pink dancers potentially being men and this of course, will throw little Benny's concept of gender out the window, he will demand nail polish and tiaras and refuse to answer to any name but Delilah-Rose on the car ride home. Seeing people kiss or dance or wear the same amount of clothes they do on the beach, is NOT offensive, nor is it going to change the sexual orientation/gender identity of a child. Overt sexual behaviour isn't appropriate for children, however any Pride march I've been to has been verging on sex-LESS; lesbian Mums, gay Dads, trans people with partners and children, drag queens slinking along the street (much to the delight of the kids), colourful floats, desperate-to-be-seen-but-slightly-uncomfortable politicians and supportive grandmothers complaining about sore feet. In fact, the least family friendly aspect of Pride is the cohort of religious extremists standing behind their police cordon preaching non-acceptance and hate.
LGBT people have children. We are family. We are Mums, Dads, Auntys, Uncles and Grandparents. How we perform these roles is dependent on our morals, our patience, our dedication and our responsibility, NOT on our gender or sexual identity. And to Senor Fernando Gómez (the Tourism alderman of Spanish Democratic Party of Blanes) who says "It is inconsistent to promote gay tourism along with family tourism and sporting events", I'm sorry sir, but I have a family, I am an athlete and I am a pretty big fan of holidays. Now let's get together and talk about inconsistency.