Wednesday, January 19, 2011

defying the common perception

In completely surprising news, the recent census data shows that the area with the highest number of gay/lesbian parents is the South. That's right, the South.

I'm not entirely surprised by this, because I think most perceptions of the LGBT community are derived from television and not reality. Luckily for us, television is most often wrong, and while it can be a boon to change, it can also grossly mis-represent "reality" and cause further ignorance.

I think the reason no one "saw this coming" is because we all assume that the LGBT community is monolithic and homogeneous. That is, however, not the case. LGBT people come in every color, creed, race, religion, age and culture--including "southern" (although, that is admittedly not one of the aforementioned categories).

What else? Black and Latino couples are TWICE as likely to be raising families as white couples! I don't know why I find that so amazing, but it's probably because after Prop 8 passed, there was a quick reaction to blame black churches. That reaction was wrong, and the census and new data show that the minority community is actually MORE accepting and supportive of marriage equality than the white community. That being the case, it makes sense that minorities are more likely to be raising their own families as well.

I don't know what the overall take-away is from all of this other than we all need to stop assuming and generalizing. Moreover, we have to come to realize that the LGBT community is more diverse than commonly thought. I think these are awesome developments that will help push us all further toward equality, but I do fear that there is a greater schism developing within the LGBT community and one that needs be addressed. While I look forward to a day when all Americans are treated equally, I would hate to see the LGBT community simply mirror America in it's good AND bad aspects. It would be a pity to see "equality" in a decade's time simply mean that we have a community split in the same socio-economic ways as the rest of the country when we should all be helping one another to be successful and prosper.


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