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(Queer) families first 

As this year's primary elections approached, blue speed-limit-shaped signs spread like an April virus across North Carolina's roadways, trumpeting Republican Chuck Neely's bold platform in the race for governor: "Families First!"

The slogan was designed, of course, to woo Christian conservatives into Neely's camp. Little did Chuck realize that a great many of the Christian Right's current archnemeses, those notoriously "anti-family" lesbians, gay men, transgendered people and bisexuals, would have honked their horns and given the signs a big old thumbs-up--if they had thought for a second that Neely's idea of family included them.

For gay people, it takes some creativity to have a family. Adoption is difficult; legal marriage is forbidden; and being honest about your sexuality often means losing your biological family. But instead of becoming "enemies of the family," most gay folks create families of their own: with friends, with lovers, with adopted children.

If you've created your own queer family, we want to hear your story. The Independent's "Pink Triangle" issue, which shines an annual spotlight on local gay culture, will focus this year on gay families in the Triangle. We're asking readers (you don't have to consider yourself a writer) to submit stories, up to 500 words long, about their "non-traditional" families. How did your family come together? What does it mean to you? What was the moment when you knew you had a family?

Please submit your story, no later than May 24, to: Pink Triangle, The Independent, P.O. Box 2690, Durham, NC, 27715. You may also fax (286-4274) or e-mail (editors@ indyweek.com).

And then we'll see who puts families first.

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