Friday, November 16, 2012

A new normal

R-74 proof of a changing idea of family

by Anna Sieber, Guest Writer   

There is an archaic idea of the American family: blond, blue-eyed, heterosexual, 2.2 children with a white picket fence.
   
 Today, we are seeing an entirely different idea of the family, a new definition of “normal” if you will.
   
 With the passage of Referendum 74, Washington became one of 10 states to  legalize gay marriage. While this is a momentous leap for human rights, it also allows for a broader view of the American family.
   
Now, not only do we have the old idea of the heterosexual couple, but a new and growing acceptance of same - sex couples.
   
Ironically, with a divorce rate around 50 percent, there is a growing number of split families, and it is almost becoming  more normal for parents to be divorced than together.
   
There is a very engrained idea of what family means — mom, dad, brother, sister — and an assumption that your parents look like you and fulfill the typical roles of a family.
   
We are seeing and accepting more and more family structures that deviate from what was once considered “normal.”
   
However, the meaning of family is more important than its structure.
   
Family comprises the people who are there for you, regardless of blood relation or custom. They are the people you have to live with no matter what - those who are there to help you rise and catch you when you fall.
  
It does not matter who that family is: mom and dad, mom and mom, dad and dad, single dad or grandma. It is all the same at the end of the day.
   
For us, the “Millennials,” so many of these hot-button issues are no-brainers. Of course you might have two moms or you may live with your single dad because your parents are divorced.
   
People have a preoccupation with normalcy. People want to be able to put others into boxes, and want others to fit a mold so they do not have to think much or ask questions.
   
The problem with this – beyond the dwindling intellect of humanity – is that it limits options and promotes discrimination. By wanting people to fit into these boxes, society denies some people the right to love who they want — whether that is someone of the same gender or a different race.
  
Consider just 50 years ago when an interracial couple would likely have been attacked if they walked hand-in-hand down the street together.
   
Some people today want to do that to same sex couples and continue to look at interracial couples as if it does not quite seem believable.
   
We are growing toward the day when there is no “normal,” when one cannot simply say “I have a family” and people will assume one thing or another.
   
Interracial, gay, divorced, single-parent, adopted, whatever — it is all being considered normal.