As we have all heard from the enlightening tirades of Jehova’s best and brightest, the nuclear family is an ancient institution and as a result far, far, more deserving of existence than the Homosexual/Feminist/Abortionist/Trans/Wizard agenda. One man, plus one woman, plus two (or twelve) screaming, unfathomable children. Plus liquor. This calibration is the ‘cornerstone’ (also see: ‘foundation’, ‘pillar’, ‘antiquated architectural reference’) of Western Civilization (also see: ‘Judeo-Christianity’, ‘society’, ‘non-Wizards’). According the them, this has been the way of things right back to cavemen days.
And it’s in serious trouble – today the nuclear family accounts for only 28% of British households and 70% of those in Scary-Hopefully-Fictitious Bible Land. This one-man, one-woman, three stress-related-heart-attacks model of living seems to be on the way out, and we should all be concerned.
But what if, just this once, the right-wing Christians actually have things wrong? Suppose, just as an example, the nuclear family was actually only 250 years old1 and only became popular in the last 100. Wouldn’t that raise a lot of questions? Wouldn’t that mean…
Queer bars are older than the nuclear family
Evidence of bars where men would meet other men – known as ‘molly houses’, date back to at least 1700. Men would go there to drink, have group sex sessions with up to 50 at a time, perform mock marriages with one partner dressed as a bride, and pretend to give birth using wooden dolls (Londoners were really living it up having shipped all their Puritans across the sea). And don’t worry about missing out, ladies! These bars often came with their very own ‘fag hags’, in the form of friendly local prostitutes – in fact the very name ‘molly’ came from a term for such women – just like many lesser-known names like queen, punk, fairy, faggot and fruit. Oh, and gay. The youth of today should feel really, really bad for stealing an innocent term that used to mean ‘brothel’.
Despite all this exciting revelry, there were enough nosy Christians left to form the Society for the Reformation of Manners, which sent men in undercover to spy on these illustrious establishments. After really, really, really,making sure the men inside were genuine sodomites of course. One individual named William Minton made sure to call the authorities as soon as he suspected untoward activity – that is, after they had kissed and the accused had ejaculated over his leg. Oh, and he called the authorities whilst still grabbing the guy’s penis.
The most famous molly house was owned by an old woman named Mother Clap, and was raided in 1726, with its proprietress prosecuted, fined and imprisoned for two years. Raids on the molly houses were frequent, but they just kept popping up all over London over the next three centuries. Queers just can’t get enough of those wooden dolls.
Same-sex marriage is a lot, lot older than the nuclear family
Now I know what you’re thinking (aside from imagining steamy powdered-wig orgies). You’re asking yourself, “Sure the nuclear family might not be so old, but men still loved women and women loved men, right?”
Actually, nope, not so much. Prior to the eighteenth century, marriage was about binding families together by transferring valuable property (“women”) and making babies – the idea of marrying for love actually came about relatively recently.2 Instead of loving your opposite-sex spouse, it was perfectly normal to love your same-sex friend – to the point of living with them, sharing money, and even a bed together (just where did you think the term ‘bedfellow’ came from anyway?). Even love poetry was written to friends: ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’ was written to a male friend of Shakespeare’s, so feel free to go ahead and tell your best bro how ‘thou art more lovely and more temperate’.
So bromance is a lot older than you think. And also applied to women (wo-mance?). And marriage was certainly not reserved for opposite-sex couples. A tomb from 1391 of two knights, Sir William Neville and Sir John Clanvowe, depicts them buried together in the manner of a married couple – including portraying them as about to kiss – pressing lips with your best bro (wo?) being a perfectly acceptable way of greeting in England until it became associated with homosexuality around the year 1700.3 This form of love is still common in many cultures today – two guys holding hands in Saudi Arabia aren’t about the be breaking out the rainbow flags any time soon.
Outside of northern Europe, same-sex marriages were performed in ancient Greece, Rome, China, Spain, and Caprica. Not in ancient Israel though – our Biblical ancestors lived in nice, traditional, polygamous marriages, where women were executed for adultery even if they were raped. Ancient Israel was in desperate need of a slutwalk.
Humanoid robots are older than the nuclear family
In many ways queers are a lot like robots: they’re clean, efficient, largely built in Japan and have been around longer than the nuclear family. Humanoid robots were posited throughout the ancient world, and were suggested as an alternative to slavery by Aristotle (as opposed to ‘just not using slaves’, which wasn’t hypothesised until 2000 years later). However, the winner of the first-human-to-build-a-real-robot-before-flushing-toilets award goes to Al-Jazari, who created programmable robot musicians in the year 1206.
Eventually the ‘building frightening robots’ phase moved to Europe, and 500 years later Jacques de Vaucanson also built himself some mechanical musicians (real musicians were very expensive back then). His crowning achievement, however, was to build a robotic duck, with highly intricate, movable wings. And which could defecate because apparently that was important to 18th century France. In fact, de Vaucanson invented the rubber hose whilst attempting to find suitable material for the duck’s digestive canal. Remember that next time you water your lawn.
Of course there are other things I could mention: condoms used 14,000 years ago, 17th century theme parks, and Roman central heating: all older than the nuclear family and marrying someone of the opposite sex for love.
So next time you read another religious rant about the assault on the ‘traditional family’, remember – we have a much longer tradition of homo bars and same-sex marriage. And shitting robot ducks.