chapter  1
8 Pages

Why “Friendship” Works—And Doesn’t

WithFrederick S. Roden

We live at a cultural moment when categories shaping identity-in pairs-are being brought under analysis. For better or worse, that union called “marriage” is subject to interrogation-for same-sex couples as well as heterosexual ones. Some of us who choose to call ourselves LGBT-or queer-love to love, or love to hate, marriage. At the same time, scholarly work on the history of same-sex attachments has tremendous breadth. There are those who would argue that it is impossible to compare a same-sex pair of the twenty-first century to one of the nineteenth. There are also those who see tremendous resonances, so much so that it seems critical to distinguish other variables of identity that separate us from lives experienced at other times and in other places. At this particular moment in LGBTQ history, what

value does “friendship” have-for ourselves, and as we seek to sculpt and scope a history of sexual diversity? Can friendship be the new marriage and did it serve that role in the past?