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Black People Gays Should Know: Rebecca Walker

Black People Gays Should Know: Rebecca Walker

Enter Rebecca Walker and her book One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood, and Other Realities of Truly Modern Love. Rebecca's been a person to know since Time Magazine named her one of the World's 25 Most Influential Leaders. But long before that, she was making headlines, editing the quintessential book on feminism for those of us who came after burning bras, To Be Real, and travelling the world on the "Rock the Vote" tour bus for the Clinton's registering voters or starting the Third Wave Foundation.

So much of our discussion in gay communities is centered on marriage and how we are similar to heteros, we may be overlooking the larger picture of how can we come up with an idea of family that includes everyone, not just the standard biological two parent paradigm. Why do we have to define family the same way the broader culture does? We are gays afterall, and by virtue of that, unique innovators. Enter Rebecca Walker and her book One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood, and Other Realities of Truly Modern Love. 

Rebecca's been a person to know since Time Magazine named her one of the World's 25 Most Influential Leaders. But long before that, she was making headlines, editing the quintessential book on feminism for those of us who came after burning bras, To Be Real, and travelling the world on the "Rock the Vote" tour bus for the Clinton's registering voters or starting the Third Wave Foundation, an organization that empowers girls to become world leaders.  

In this latest book, she's doing what she does best, opening eyes to a new way of thinking. "The essays she assembles smash class, race and gender stereotypes to collectively demonstrate the fluidity of the contemporary family unit. Resisting the traditional boundaries of coupledom, Jenny Block, on the one hand, celebrates the openness of what she calls a 'polyamorous marriage' with her husband and her girlfriend." In the book, people from all over the world describe familiy dynamics that are complicated but satisfying. At the end of it all, I think that's what we're all longing for, no matter how we identify ourselves. 

Check out Rebecca here on NBC discussing the book.  

She's the ideal person to bring us this work. Even her own name flies against a cultural norm. She changed her name from Rebecca Leventhal, her father's family name, to Rebecca Walker, her mother's name, in her 20s.  She talks about her own complicated decision to have a child in her book Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After Lifetime of Ambivalence

Indeed, even our beloved and now lost, Michael Jackson, and the way he chose to create family is very 21st century. With Debbie Rowe, he reportedly had two children by insemination and then adopted a third. 

One Big Happy Family shows that the idea of what makes a family is changing. And as it continues to do, so will the discussion around what is considered normal for our culture. This is what makes Rebecca Walker and this book so relevant to the gay marriage debate. How much time will we as a community spend trying to attain that status of "normal" when the standard for normal is itself changing.

Find out about other Black People Gays Should Know here!

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Taj Paxton