Straight Up | Issue 13

Straight Up | Issue 13

Q Fam

If anyone has followed this column you will realise that it has been a rough time in my family of birth A family member has been very unwell, and I have become their primary carer. Throughout this time I have been thinking a lot about family, what it means to me – and what queer/trans folks have done to redecorate the concept of kinship.

 Alongside my family of birth, who live in Christchurch, I have queer kin of choice residing in many different countries. These are people who may have entered mine and my partner’s lives as friends, lovers, colleagues, acquaintances or co-conspirators - but now we have developed sustained and durable bonds that resemble family relations.

 Queer kin are my cousins, brothers, sisters, sister-brothers, mama’s and daddies. I have grandfolks, and aunties. My queer kin will make me an auncle (of furbabies or the furless kind). We might live together, holiday together, have children together, maybe even share accessories (you know I don’t share scarves with just anyone). When I am at the end of my life, I hope my Q Fam will be there with me, alongside my birth family.

This is not unique to me and my Q Fam. Alternative models of kinship exist for many queer/trans folks. Sometimes they arise because of troubles within our birth families, from a lack of acceptance or understanding. Sometimes they are an act of survival – being together is the best way to navigate through a hostile world. For many of us these families aren’t a reaction to our families of birth, we develop queer families because they enrich our lives. Period.

The thing I want to get across is – this is an active choice I have made: I am not interested in replicating the failed model of the precarious and isolated nuclear family. This model of creating a life doesn’t work for me, I want more.

I guess queer kinship is something that cis-hetero’s could take from us queerbo’s – what possibilities for family relations exist outside of blood? Is it really your dream to emulate the kind of family relations you grew up with? Could you dream it otherwise?

I guess in the end this column is a simple act of appreciation. Thank you to all of my family who have been here while times have been tough. 

– La Di Da <3 <3
This article first appeared in Issue 13, 2012.
Posted 7:40pm Sunday 27th May 2012 by La Dida.