Charity and Sylvia blog post

The book Charity and Sylvia by Rachel Cleves explains the false notion of same-sex marriage being a new/ current day type of union. The book takes place in the late 1800’s and shows the relationship between Charity Bryant and Sylvia Blake. The two came to meet and then stayed together until Charity passed away in 1851. The book shows a common theme of how Charity and Sylvia were able to maintain and live in a world where same-sex marriage wasn’t too common. Gender roles seem to be a massive talking point in class discussion as well as past readings we have done. In this book, the two take separate “gender roles” of husband and wife to make life easier for them. Another aspect of gender roles I noticed in the book was the idea of Blake’s family being in question about Sylvia’s love life as well as her general feelings towards a true marriage. We see Sylvia’s side of the family have 64 nieces and nephews, one of which had 18 kids! This is another lens of how we can compare and contrast these different occurrences to what we see today. While having 18 kids today is very uncommon, the idea of a unification among same-sex couples and same-sex marriages are far more common today, where same-sex marriage is legal in all 5o states, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling back in 2015. I found the fact that  Charity and Sylvia were both against the traditional idea of marriage, but were able to have a successful and thriving 44 year long relationship is amazing to me.

I really enjoyed this book and thought it provided deep insight into what same-sex “marriage” looked like 200 years ago. For some reason, it appears that there are historians who are deliberately not recognizing or appropriately dating/ handling primary sources in regards to same-sex relationships. Why would historians do this? It’s beyond me. I believe something so sacred as marriage should be shown in truth and especially with same-sex marriage, which has been very controversial over the past 40 years. If more people knew that these same-sex relationships were occurring more often than one would think in the 1800’s, maybe it wouldn’t have taken so long to be nationally legalized in the US.

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