Much though I enjoyed my time in Arkansas, it is also home to many who have a rather static (can I say â€œlast milenniumâ€?) view of what a â€œfamilyâ€ is. I find it extremely ironic that in these days when â€œfamily valuesâ€ are all the rage, some are being shoved out in the cold. Perhaps we call them, â€œIce Age Family Valuesâ€, not only because they haven't kept up with the times, but because they are fundamentally cold-hearted and unloving.
This all comes because of an action taken by a â€œHarpsâ€ Store in Arkansas (it must be one of the rural stores; I've never heard of it). Last week, US Weekly magazine came out with a cover story about Elton John and his partner, and their new child: born only a few weeks ago to a surrogate mother. After receiving a complaint from a customer, they chose (rather than ignoring the complaint) to cover the magazine with a â€œcensorship shieldâ€ to protect young eyes and minds from what was displayed on the cover. One of the visitors to the store snapped a photo and â€œtweetedâ€ on twitter, andÂ the storyÂ went viral. The tale reached all the way to Canada, as described in this article from the Globe and Mail. My favourite quote from the article: â€œOf course, this isn't the first time someone has tried to protect children from homosexuality in literature (if US Weekly counts as literature).â€
Not only do I not think that this kind of information needs to be â€œsheildedâ€ from young eyes, I think young people need to know what kinds of families lie beyond their own. This is not only a very valid and productive family in our culture, it is representative of thousands of men and women who are less vocal or less â€œknownâ€ than Elton John, and who are forced to hide behind â€œshieldsâ€ of their own or their community's making. By putting their family in the public spotlight, it will hopefully keep others from being burned.
So: hide your children's eyes if you must, but this article will not be â€œflaggedâ€ because of its content. The picture below is of the magazine cover which featured the happy couple with their new baby. And, at left, is the illustration of how some are trying to â€œshieldâ€ them right back in to the closet: and they will not go.