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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reclaiming the Pro-Family Label

 The Family Research Council (FRC), a hate group that spreads demonizing lies about gay men and lesbians, claims that it’s simply a pro-family organization.
But don’t gay men and lesbians have families, too?  Don’t their families count?
We recently received an email from a supporter that raised just this issue.  With his permission, we’re sharing it here.  It’s one of the many letters, emails, postings and tweets we’ve received in support of our work since we’ve exposed the FRC’s hateful lies.

-Richard Cohen

Dear SPLC,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for finally branding the Family Research Council a hate group.  I am a 36-year-old gay man and when I hear these people say they are "pro-family" or for "family values," I want to scream at the top of my lungs, "I have a family too!  I have a mother and father and brother and sister and a partner, and they love me and I am part of that family! I am not a threat to that family; I am a full-fledged, cooperating member of that family!"

These hateful groups have so appropriated the idea of "family" we barely blink when we hear their exclusionary discourse; they are timeworn at this point. But when you sit and think about this way of describing gay people (a threat to "family"), it starts to sink in that this is one of the most intimate and emotionally violent forms of social oppression.  Homophobia seeks to literally wedge itself between gay people and their parents and siblings.  It also seeks to second-guess and demonize the loving relationships that gay people form between each other.

I have been lucky enough to find the love of my life.  It's a rare gift in this world, to find another person who feels like home, who makes you smile, just by being themselves. There is so much more laughter and joy in my life because of him. I feel so blessed to have found this man.  And how frightening that the FRC would call that love "sickness," "disorder," "perversion" and "sin." Not only would they label it as such, they would try to convince me to put myself through a process of self-denying psychological torture ("conversion therapy") that could endanger my long-term mental health in order to pry me apart from my partner and destroy what they call "sickness."

I'm writing to you in hopes that my words show you the emotional impact your heroic defense of gay people has on the lives of actual gay people. Homophobia literally seeks to strike "close to home," and because of your actions my home and my family feel a little bit safer. Tonight I'll give an extra hug to my boyfriend on your behalf.

David Hanbury


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