‘Family is really all that counts’

2009familyday125x125June 1 was the Fourth Annual Blogging for LGBT Families day. As usual, I got busy and yet busier still. The day just came and went without a moment’s notice. Thanks to organizer Dana Rudolph for the late-day reminder of the blogging day. I like to contribute every year.

Most of my regular readers and blogger buddies know I work for Q-Notes, the Carolinas’ LGBT newspaper. I’m the editor and the paper’s only full-time news writer (yes, our staff really is that small).

One of the great things about having the bulk of the writing responsibility is that most of the really great stories get assigned to none other but me! Yes, it’s tiring, but I also do not have to compete for time and attention with other writers, or give away great stories that I’d like to take on to writers who might be answering to me. I know it can’t last; I’ll eventually move on to another paper or another job where I’ll actually have to share and dole out responsibilities. Until then, I kind of like being the “only child.”

I got one of those great stories two weeks ago, just two days before our deadline for the May 30 print issue. We were going forward with our first ever Sex Issue. I’ve got to push that envelope, you know — I just wouldn’t be me if I weren’t, right?

frontpage_smThe story coalesced into the Sex Issue’s cover story, “Ménage à trois four: Four young gay men navigate the slippery path of polyamorous love.”

The story was unique and exciting: three young gay guys living and loving together, thinking about bringing a fourth into their polyamorous relationship. What was originally supposed to be a story about sex quickly turned into something much, much more.

Most of the posts being filed for Blogging for LGBT Families Day will likely revolve around LGBT parenting, adoption rights, marriage rights and other life-sustaining needs for LGBT families. What struck me about my Sex Issue cover story, though, was just how much any discussion of any romantic relationship really is just about one simple concept: Family.

One of the many things I discussed with Jim, Thomas, Chris and Jeremy was their parents’ reactions to their relationship. A bit of that discussion made the cut for the story, but most didn’t. Still, I was moved by the fact that three of the four’s parents embraced and loved, or at least moderately accepted, the three’s (perhaps, soon-to-be four’s) relationship.

I was moved by how close they all seemed to be. They’d each finished each others’ sentences several times in my almost two hour interview with them. They laughed at the same time, got irked or uncomfortable at the same time. Paused for breath or for a lack of words at the same time.

If you had asked me about polyamorous relationships just two years ago, I likely would have been as condemning and judgmental as the radical fundamentalists are to monogamous LGBT parents, couples and families. Even some of the feedback received on Q-Notes‘ website is harsh.

I neared the end of the story with a quote from Jim, whose family was the most off-put by his coming out and relationship: “Having his ‘second family’ in Charlotte is important to him. ‘Everything is good. The sex is good, the friendship is good, but they are more than just my lovers. They are my family.'”

I wrapped it all up: “Family is really all that counts.”

And, you can’t get much simpler than that.

Families come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors. The family formed by Jim, Thomas, Chris, and possibly Jeremy, really isn’t all that different from the family that created me, or you, or the family you form with your partner and lover. In the end, mutual commitment, respect, love and adoration is really that matters.

Love makes a family. Now, if we could just get our government to think the same way, then things might just get a little better for all of us.

3 Responses to “‘Family is really all that counts’”
  1. bearblue says:

    Thank you for this articles. Real equality between adults means counting those that have relationships in multiples. I’ve always hated (with a passion) the argument that poly relationships are not as good as monogamous relationships and therefore don’t count. It always counts to those who are involved in a good one. And you make an awesome point. Family *is* family. I usually say that free consenting adults ought to be able to form contractual unions (aka marriage) with other free consenting adults regardless of orientation or number in a free society, but I think I’ll just shorten it now. Family is family.

  2. Juanito says:

    Thank-you Matt for this article. I don’t know if either I or Eugene told you; but, he was an only child growing up in Russia and his concept of having more than other “family” member just sounds strange to him. At the same time, he wishes we had a larger family and he even thought about adding another man to our home. Haven’t got there…yet. He has talked to my many siblings back home and he finds that I grew up rather well adjusted, not having to prove myself to any one of them…and still get the love and support we all crave at times. Family is family…and my siblings now include him into ours. Muah!

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  1. […] profiled the relationship of four polyamorous gay youth in Charlotte. Two days later on June 1, I participated in the annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day and reflected on my time interviewing the youth, writing the piece and my thoughts. In the end, I […]

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