Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Kids Are All Right; Is the Message?

We saw a fantastic movie earlier today, Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right. (No, this one doesn't star Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend.) This is a brilliant film about Nic and Jules (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore), a lesbian couple dealing with all of the usual struggles couples and families with children deal with, until Paul (Mark Ruffalo), the sperm donor they used for both of their children, comes into their lives. His presence brings a number of hidden issues to light, especially when he begins an affair with one of the women.

I loved this movie. The acting is stellar; the story was humorous, heartbreaking and thought provoking. However—and I know I'm not alone in voicing this concern—I can't help but wonder if the affair that occurs between one of the women and Paul helps reinforce the oft-voiced view that homosexuality is a choice, not something you're born with. While the relationship in this film isn't viewed as a cure-all or even a temporary solution, and it illustrates the fluidity of human sexuality, I think those opponents of homosexuality who choose to see the film may use this as a palette from which to paint gay people as having control over whom they choose to love, that it is a psychological imperative rather than a genetic one.

I know I am more than happy with my life and am deeply in love with my partner. But I also know that if my sexuality truly was a choice, I certainly wouldn't have chosen the path that travels daily through discrimination, hatred, inequality and ignorance. Sexuality isn't a choice, although there are many in this world who choose to sublimate their true feelings to live an easier life—albeit not necessarily a happier one.

I hope more movies celebrating the relative normalcy of "non-traditional" families are made, but I hope that they illustrate that normalcy doesn't always include promiscuity; in fact, it does less than the "traditional" family does.

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