The fight for equal rights has been a difficult journey for the LGBT community. Even though there has been a global shift in attitude when it comes to same-sex relationships and trans individuals, some people hold tightly to the ideas of the past. One of the largest reasons that people stand against issues like gay marriage is the fact that people believe same-sex unions will “break the bonds of traditional marriage.” The reasoning behind this belief can seem specious at best and often winds up being fed by ignorance and political power grabs.
The concept of the “nuclear family” that many people cling to in the modern age is not a very old one. In fact, the term did not come about until the 1920s when it was published in the Oxford English Dictionary. Even then, it was a relatively new concept and did not see more widespread use until the late 1940s. When it originated, the term was used to describe households that consisted of a married man and woman living under the same roof and engaging in a “socially approved” sexual relationship that produced children.
Exploring the Past
The idea of the nuclear family is not a bad one. The concept came about to create an idea of stability in the homes of Americans who were struggling from the madness of World War II. Unfortunately, the concept switched forms and became a weapon against people who did not fit the criteria. Members of the LGBT community were considered “not normal” due to the fact that they could not live up to the expectations of the nuclear family. This, coupled with religious pressures, caused most people to keep their sexualities hidden.
While there was progress in equal rights for the LGBT community in the ‘60s and ‘70s, there was also a large conservative pushback in the 1980s. The AIDs epidemic caused a lot of panic and widespread death in the LGBT community. World leaders refused to acknowledge this problem for a very long time, which many believe led to the problem becoming so large in such a short amount of time. This also added fuel to the fire for conservative politicians who labeled the disease as an attack from God for people turning their backs on “family values.”
The Idea of the Family
A family is a family is a family. Whether it is a man and a woman raising children, a single parent with kids, several adults living in the same house, or any other combination you can imagine, a family retains specific key attributes. The misconception of the nuclear family is that people who follow this path are “good” or “righteous” individuals. In truth, it is possible for people in a traditional nuclear family to be victims of verbal or physical abuse from a family member. Unhealthy relationships are going to be unhealthy regardless of gender or relationships.
When people are living in the same house, working together, laughing together, and having life experiences together, it creates bonds. The ties that bind are what help people to live in the same space and grow alongside one another. It does not matter if the people are related by blood or married, or only met in recent months. People are always going to find a way to connect to those around them and create family units based on necessity, love, survival, or any other reason that might come up.
The idea of the nuclear family is one that can seem innocuous on the surface. Unfortunately, the way that the concept has been used over the years has made it more of a violent weapon than an idyllic peak to climb towards. Instead of desperately clinging to ideals that no longer fit the modern world, it can be more beneficial to come together and learn from each other to promote true understanding.