Date: Thu, 3 Mar 1994 09:01:55 -0800 From: Arnold Zwicky Subject: Re: Family in the gay sense there are two entirely different questions here, both of some interest. one is the question randy roberts just gave citations on from the tamony materials: how, and when, has the sense of the word "family" shifted so as to include persons not related to one another by blood or marriage? one of these shifts involves treating same-sex domestic partnerships as the functional equivalent of legal or religious marriages, so lgb people are relevant here. [as i recall, the entry for "family" shifted notably between the 2nd and 3rd editions of the AHD, and geoff nunberg wrote an excellent usage note on just this point.] but the original question was about the use, primarily among lgb people, of predicative "family" to refer to sexual orientation, as in "I took two courses from you before I finally figured out that you were family" [my recollection of something said to me by a graduate student, a gay man, some years ago]. this is clearly a metaphorical extension of the meaning of "family"; the sense of group identity, or community, among lgb people is analogous to the sense of belonging in a group with one's parents, siblings, partner, and/or children. this latter use is *not* extremely recent (just how old it is i cannot say; i'm pretty sure it was already current in the early 70s, though i haven't searched through the texts), but it has developed a special piquancy in recent years by opposition to the explicitly anti-homosexual stance of the "family values" movement in the u.s. arnold zwicky, who has families in several senses (zwicky[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or zwicky[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]