Love makes a family

Time was, the term “nuclear family” brought to mind mommy, daddy and the proverbial 2.5 kids. Of course, in reality, families come in many different configurations, a fact borne out in a photography exhibition hosted at UNCA.

All in the family: Photo from the Love Makes a Family exhibit. From left to right, Michael Elsasser and Justin, Doug and Zachary Robinson. photos by Gigi Kaeser

The Center for Diversity Education, along with the university’s Student Alliance, teamed up with several community groups to bring Love Makes a Family, a touring exhibit depicting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families, to UNCA’s Karpen Hall.

While some community members may take issue with how the photos frame understandings of family, the exhibit and accompanying events, now in their third week, have met with substantial support, according to Deborah Miles, the CDE’s executive director. “We expected 200 to attend the opening, but there were 300,” she says. “We expected 30 to attend the program on Family and Religion, but there were 50.”

On loan from the Family Diversity Project, a nonprofit based in Amherst, Mass., Love Makes a Family is accompanied by the CDE’s own display of local GLBT families and their stories, Loving Families.

For those who missed out on the previous events, three more remain. Miles is particularly enthused about “Building Community Support for All Families,” a panel discussion featuring representatives from Asheville city government, the organization Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and advocacy group Equality NC, which will be moderated by Noel Nickle, the co-founder of People of Faith for Just Relationships.

All programs are free and open to the public and will be held in Karpen Hall’s Laurel Forum.
• “Conceptualizing Family,” a panel discussion with UNCA faculty at 12:20 p.m. on Thursday, March 29.
• “Building Community Support for All Families,” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3.
• “We Are Family: Local GLBT Families Share Personal Experiences,” at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 5.

For more information, call 232-5024 or visit

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