Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles

Singletude is a positive, supportive singles blog about life choices for the new single majority. It's about dating and relationships, yes, but it's also about the other 90% of your life--family, friends, career, hobbies--and flying solo and sane in this crazy, coupled world. Singletude isn't about denying loneliness. It's about realizing that whether you're single by choice or by circumstance, this single life is your life to live.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving: Singletude Gives Thanks for Readers and Progress

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! You know what I'm thankful for today? Singletude readers! You've doubled since this time last year, and I'm so thankful to all of you who stop by, whether for just one post of interest or to keep up with the latest twice a week. I'm especially grateful to those of you who add your voices to the discussion, commenting on the posts and sharing your own opinions and experiences. In the coming year, I hope more of you who follow Singletude will join in the conversation. This year, I'd like to show my appreciation by giving back to you!

First of all, I'd like to know what you like about Singletude and what you want to see more of so it can better meet your needs and interests. There's a poll today, so please take a minute to give your feedback, and if you have any ideas that don't fit neatly into multiple choice answers, feel free to leave a comment below.

Second, the next Singletude Giveaway Contest will be announced the day after Thanksgiving and will run throughout the holiday season. I'm excited to have another opportunity to reward the amazing readers who have stuck by this blog and grown with it for almost two years now, even if I can only do that in a small way.

And now, in the spirit of the holiday, I want to list five advances for singles that I'm thankful for this year:

1. The Affordable Health Care for America Act
One of the most glaring disparities between singles and marrieds is their access to health care. Under our current system, a married employee can give his or her insurance benefits to a spouse, but singles have no recourse if they are unemployed, self-employed, or work for businesses that don't provide insurance. Therefore, singles are more likely to be uninsured than married couples are. The Affordable Health Care for America Act, though not as ideal as a single-payer plan, provides for an insurance exchange that includes a public option, which would eliminate dependence on employer-based coverage, helping to level the playing field between the married and the unmarried. The bill has already been passed in the House and is waiting for Senate approval. Please tell your senator to vote yes!

2. The Designated Beneficiary Agreement Act in Colorado
In April of 2009, Colorado led the way toward a more equitable legal system that values all relationships, not just marital ones. The Designated Beneficiary Agreement Act allows any two unmarried adults, regardless of relationship, to enter into a contract by which they're given many of the same privileges that most states currently reserve for married couples. These include the rights to joint acquisition of property; guardianship or conservatorship; estate and benefit inheritance; and medical proxy, hospital visitation, wrongful death suit, and disposition of remains. To read a full list of entitlements granted by the Designated Beneficiary Agreement Act, see this document.

3. The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act in Washington, DC
This is primarily thought of as a bill to protect LGBT domestic partnerships. However, what singles of any sexual orientation should know is that it also protects unmarried people who want to establish legally recognized nonsexual relationships. According to the DC City Council Committee on Public Safety, "As domestic partnerships apply equally to same-sex and opposite-sex couples, as well as to non-sexual relationships, the Committee believes that preserving the right to register is necessary." In fact, the controversy over gay marriage has had the unintended side effect of calling attention to the myriad ways in which our legal system is rigged against singles. Books like Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law by Nancy D. Polikoff have capitalized on that and stirred public interest and discussion. The bill is up for a final vote in December.

4. National Unmarried and Single Americans Week
Since the 1980s, it rolls around every September, but it's only in the last few years or so that anyone has really paid attention. It's still not as widely covered as it could be, and much of the coverage it does get is devoted to analyzing the "problem" of singleness rather than normalizing it. However, a week set aside to observe the role of singles in society is much better than no week at all. Plus, it seems to have been the gateway to more positive celebrations in other countries, such as China, which started Singles Day in the '90s, and Sweden, which has Singelfest.

5. The National Singles Association (NSA)
The National Singles Association (NSA) is the only membership-based organization for single adults to offer group-rate health and life insurance. It also guarantees discounts for members at participating airlines, retail stores, restaurants, professional services, and more. There are lots of clubs and online communities for singles and even some advocacy groups, but this is the first one to function like a union in negotiating deals with powerful corporations on behalf of singles.

There have been other encouraging signs that matrimania is beginning to crumble; these are just a few standouts. We still have a long way to go before we can say that singlism has been dismantled and that singles and marrieds are truly equal, not just in the eyes of the law but in the eyes of our families, friends, and neighbors. But, little by little, as the ranks of the unmarried swell and more people count singles among their inner circle or--surprise--discover that they're single themselves, awareness is growing that the nuclear family model of yesteryear not only doesn't apply to much of the population but actually disenfranchises it. That's prompting indignation, which, in turn, spurs change. I'm thankful for the changes we've seen so far and for the changes yet to come.

What advances have singles made that you're thankful for?

Fun Link of the Day

Do you have a question for Clever Elsie about some aspect of the single life? Have an unpublished rant or rave about singlehood? Write in, and you just might see your question in a "Singletude Q&A" or your rant or rave in a "Singletude Sound-off"! Singletude makes every effort to republish submissions in their original form but reserves the right to edit your submission for length and clarity.


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Clever Elsie said...

College Singles: Thanks for your feedback and for visiting Singletude!