November 29, 2007

Connecting Far-Away Dots

Tonight I went to this meeting of a childcare collective, and it was amazing for so many reasons. One of them being that it gave me a chance to think about how I feel about raising children and how it relates to the other work that I do.

I remembered a party that I went to in Hyderabad last year for the holidays. My friend who hosted identifies as gay, and he and his partner live in an extended family set-up, with him and his partner, his parents and his siblings and their families. I remember being there and feeling like the space was so familiar - the usual desi party with all the feelings I associate with my own experience of tradition. But then it was also this great, totally inclusive queer space as well, where all the dividers of gender and sexuality that I associate with my own traditional South Asian experience (based in my family and community interactions) were all lifted.

One of the best parts of the evening was seeing how my friend's niece interacted with her uncles - and seeing their family bond in this space. It was this incredible experience, and yet I felt sad that it was an experience to be amazed about. I wish it was one that I could take for granted, because all spaces could reflect the same inclusiveness. I also noticed how the inclusiveness extended around age as well, with kids happily sharing the space with adults.

And that made me think about how sex & sexuality and children & child-rearing are conceptualized as the opposite ends of reality (although, presumably, at some point one led to the other!) but have everything to do with each other. Everything I've been learning about sex education, about organizing with sex workers & sexual minority communities, about gender roles & relationships: the topic of children comes up in every space. And yet in so many ways, our world only considers how to "protect" children from an awareness of all things related to sexuality...

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