Great News for Single Americans! (but you wouldn’t know it if you listened to the news) February 6, 2011Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys, Singled Out, Singles Resource, We like. . ..
Tags: advanced directives, gay rights = singles' rights, hospital visitation rights, know your rights, LGBTQS, Obama pro-single, singles, singles get to redefine family too!, singlism in the media
To the delight of LGBTQS (that stands for lesbian-gay-bi-trans-queer-single) advocates everywhere, federal regulations now require that hospitals must grant all patients, no matter their marital, sexual or religious status, the right to define who they count as “family.”
Thanks to President Obama, the Code of Federal Regulations 42 CFR 482.13(h) and 42 CFR 485(f) requires that all hospitals in the U.S.:
(1) inform each patient of his or her right to receive visitors whom he or she designates, including a domestic partner, (2) do not restrict or limit visitation rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other factors and (3) ensure that all visitors have full and equal visitation rights, consistent with a patient’s wishes. (– Human Rights Campaign)
Whoo hoo! Great news for singles, right? We certainly think so — but you wouldn’t know it if you relied on the media to explain. According to most reports I read, the major stakeholders are lesbian and gay couples. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but … ummm … what about lesbian and gay singles? Or … ahem … what about all singles (asexual, heterosexual, polyamorous, widowed, divorced, whatever).
Singlist media strikes again! Because it completely ignores the remarkably equalizing ramifications – for all Americans – of this new law, it upholds the couple-centric, heteronormative bias that all LGBTQS folk are trying to overcome. So you can see what I mean, let’s examine the following report posted on ABC’s news site shortly after the regulations came into effect:
First, we get the facts:
Patients at nearly every hospital in the country will now be allowed to decide who has visitation rights and who can make medical decisions on their behalf — regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or family makeup — under new federal regulations that took effect Tuesday.
Which, if revised by a non-singlist author such as myself, would instead read: “regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, family makeup, or relationship status…”
Then, we are told about the implications:
They represent a landmark advance in the rights of same-sex couples and domestic partners who heretofore had no legal authority to be with a hospitalized partner because they were either not a blood relative or spouse.
A “landmark advance” is correct — but only if you add “in the rights of same-sex couples, domestic partners, and single people everywhere who heretofore had no legal authority to be with a hospitalized loved one because they were either not a blood relative or spouse.”
They interviewed Janice Langbehn, the lesbian who lost her partner and wasn’t allowed to be with her in the hospital — a story largely responsible for bringing this issue to Obama’s attention. According to the ABC report [**** see Jan's elaboration of this quote in the comments section below ***], she said:
Other couples, no matter how they define themselves as families, won’t have to go through what we went through, and I am grateful.
Yes, Janice, we’re grateful too! Because it also benefits single people who have gained the right to define their loved ones as “family,” even if they aren’t in a sexual or domestic partnership.
Toward the end of the post, ABC makes a nod toward single people, but only by defining them narrowly as:
childless widows or widowers who may seek the care and companionship of an unmarried partner or friend.
Not only are the majority of single people (unmarried, divorced, single parents, etc.) completely left out of this account, but childless widows or widowers are only allowed to have unmarried people at their bedside. Because, you know, that’s the only thing that makes sense.
I don’t mean to be pouty, but c’mon! Can’t we singles have our cake too?