The flaw in the fight for gay and lesbian marriage rights, argues Lehr in "Queer Family Values", lies in its failure to call into question the forms of oppression gender, racial, and economic that lead society to privilege the nuclear family. Lehr calls for activists to counter conservative discourses that see the nuclear family what Lehr considers a socially defined institution that works to maintain, in various ways, inequalities among people as the only responsible and mature family alternative. She asks for an approach to family issues and individual liberty that challenges power rather than demands access to privilege. She advocates social policies that enhance the freedom of all people, not simply those gay and lesbian adults seeking to be part of the dominant vision of family in our society.Analyzing recent works on family, gender, race, and class, Lehr shapes a theory of rights, freedom, and democracy that can liberate us from the strictures of conservative hegemony. She also provides practical examples of how activists can work for a more compassionate and caring society. She devotes a chapter, for example, to the responsibilities activists have to lesbian and gay youths, who unlike other children, who might find refuge from social injustice at home most often find in the traditional American home homophobia and isolation. Asserting that family care should be seen as a community function, "Queer Family Values" offers an alternative political strategy focused not on gaining rights, but on enhancing democracy and equality in private life. Author note: Valerie Lehr is Associate Professor of Government and Coordinator of Gender Studies at St. Lawrence University.
About Valerie Lehr
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Published May 20, 1999
by Temple University Press.
Political & Social Sciences, Gay & Lesbian, Parenting & Relationships.