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We're Here, We're Queer, and We're in the Public Record! The LGBTQ Movement and Life as Seen Through Government Information

Family & Community

It’s not [just] about the cake

Queer people have long created family, before and outside of legal recognition. But the State has tremendous power in this most intimate sphere, determining who benefits from the one thousand federal and state laws conferring privileges and rights in numerous areas including parenting and adoption, immigration, military family and survivor benefits, visitation rights in prisons and hospitals, the ability to share a room in a nursing home, Social Security benefits, federal taxes and inheritance, health insurance, pensions and many other employee benefits. It is also important to recognize there are some within the LGBTQ community who are uncomfortable with the idea of marriage and see it as a way of assimilation when they would rather live life in a manner that is right for them without state interference.

Family, Home and Community

For generations, LGBTQ people have depended on one another for family and home life. During times of hostility, LGBTQ people chose to create their own “family” out of friends, lovers, partners and supportive non-LGBTQ people. It was through these chosen families that political organizing began though social institutions and meetings like bars, the Daughter of Bilitis, and Mattachine Society. The Mattachine Society publication One was challenged as obscene and the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, opening a door for the LGBTQ community to begin organizing like never before. This case shows some ways the LGBTQ community has built a culture and community that is intrinsically linked to political organizing.