Some might think this is a bit off topic, but I will take the liberty of including it anyway. This afternoon I am going to a fundraiser for lesbian and gay kids (teenagers, mostly) who are homeless–generally because they’ve been thrown out onto the street by their very own parents. (So you see, if there is an excuse for including this in my blog, it is that this is about parents and children.) It’s a shocking to me that parents would so such a thing, but alas, it does happen.
In so many ways this has been a good year for lesbian and gay people. I live in Washington, which is one of four states that supported lesbian and gay rights in a state-wide election this past November. Consistent with that, polls show rising support for allowing same-sex couples access to marriage. The Supreme Court just took a couple of cases that hold the potential to change the law governing lesbian and gay people in several important respects. (Of course, there are no guarantees that the Supreme Court will actually reach the issues raised and that, if it does, its decision will enhance lesbian and gay rights.)
So would all this mean that the number of lesbian and gay youth on the streets is declining? I don’t know (and perhaps I will learn more this afternoon) but it has occurred to me that perhaps it does not.
It seems fairly obvious that that parents who would throw their kids out of their homes because the child says she or he is lesbian or gay feel very strongly that there is something wrong with being lesbian or gay. And though polling data suggests that this may be a diminishing number of people, my sense is that some of the people who share this view are feeling increasingly besieged. This might be because they feel that the tide of history runs against them, but for whatever reason, it seems to me that for some the struggle against lesbian and gay rights has become increasingly bitter. And I wonder if this doesn’t mean that there are some people who are actually more likely to turn their kids out of the house now than they were in the past.
I don’t know, of course, but I wonder. I suppose this is consistent with a general view I take–that sometimes the situation of specific individuals may be at odds with the situation of a group to which the individual belongs, and that you have to think carefully about the individual as well as about the group.
If I learn more that has bearing here, I’ll come back to the topic. Otherwise consider this just a small bit of self-indulgence–a chance to articulate something I’ve been wondering about.