When we consider that our ancestors couldn’t have their marriages to each other honored because they were considered property and had no individual rights, and therefore, our families weren’t considered important enough to keep together when it was time for one of us to be sold to another master, one would think Black folks wouldn’t want to see anybody’s marriages go unrecognized by the state.
You might not know this, but there are lots of gay people who have no interest in this issue at all. While they don’t come out against it, they don’t support it and think gay people who do are just selling out to the majority culture.
I must admit that being involved in marriage equality wasn’t something on my plate years ago, either. Even though I was married in the eyes of God, I was perfectly fine with that and sought nothing more from the state. But as I’ve aged, my life experience as an adopted person and as an adult adoptee rights advocate raised my consciousness. You see, in most every state in the union, an adopted person who’s an adult has no right to access his original birth certificate. That is, the birth certificate the state impounded when the child was adopted and a new birth certificate was created to include the name of the adoptive parents. The birth certificate is a person’s legal DNA. I was adopted in the late 60s, during the time when everything around adoption was about shame. Adopted people know that their birth certificate is a lie — my mother did not give birth to me as my birth certificate says she did. It was important to my psychic healing to be able to see my original birth certificate after I found my birth mother, but I needed her permission to see it. A grown man needed the permission of a woman he may have never even met just to see a copy of what is rightfully his. All across the nation, grown people are treated like children by the state, like little pieces of property moved from one family to another, a move they had no say in whatsoever, and when we’re grown and we want to know where we came from, the state tells us it’s none of our business, and if we REALLY want to know, we need to get permission from some stranger we may never even want to meet or crawl before a judge on our hands and knees and beg the judge to open up our adoption file and our birth records just so we can see that piece of paper that includes our original identity, and if we’re lucky, it will help us heal.
If you can see a connection between this and our experience as Black people in this country, then you’re with me. If not, I don’t know what to tell you.
What does any of this have to do with gay marriage?
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Adoption, Gay Marriage, and the Black Community
MY FRIENDS over at Jack and Jill Politics gave me the honor of front-paging a long comment on the connections between the entitled subjects. Here's what went down: