what’s a family in 2007?

What’s a family nowdays, anyway?

A google search for the meaning results in a long
list of obtuse and unsatisfying definitions. Few of the definitions
express the real breadth and depth of the “American Family:” single
parents, grandparents raising children, two moms, two dads, etc.
These are all real families, and have been for decades, and it’s
our job to remind people of that. These families have been the
invisible majority for too long.

We know from the 2000 Census that family structures are very
diverse. Talking in terms of “married men and women with 2.5 kids
and a dog” actually leaves a majority of families out, not just our

Recently, I read
a post in Constant Chatter
about the very same topic. The
author wrote:

So what is a family in 2007? …A family is (and always
has been) an ongoing creation – if home is where when you have to
go there, they have to take you in, then family are the people who
take you in, no matter what. For some people, family is the nucleus
of two parents and two or three children, living in a simple home.
For others, family is a much larger, multigenerational structure,
sometimes living together in a large dwelling, helping one another,
getting into one another’s business, and raising generations of
children together. For many city dwellers, family is one’s circle
of friends, to whom we turn for everything from Sunday brunch to
Passover Seders, acting as one another’s advisors in all things
from childcare to divorce, and being there for one another in a
world that can sometimes overwhelm and frighten even the toughest
among us. With or without children, with one parent or two, gay or
straight, we all cobble together families as best we can, because,
in the end, there is something exceedingly human in our desire, our
need, to be a part of a loving and supportive group that will be
there for us. The world will change, our society will evolve, but
our need for family, that is eternal.

The defintion of family will continue to evolve with our society,
but the language of bedtime and bath time, hugs and homework bonds
us all together as parents. At a speech in Dallas, TX, Family Pride
executive director spoke about this universal bond of

In these coming days, months and years ahead as we
continue on in our quest for equal justice, it is this that I hang
on to. Because I fundamentally believe that the love of family is
so universal, so powerful, that there will be no other choice for
good hearted people all across this country to eventually realize
that love is the same no matter who it is shared

To learn more about reframing the definition of family,
download Family Pride’s OUTSpoken
Speakers Toolkit