BY KAYLEE DUFF
The start of the holidays can be hard for those with complicated family situations.
November for me has always meant family. It comes right as the weather turns cold, so we’re all forced inside to spend time with each other. If you were a marching band person like I was, November meant the end of a season and less after-school activities. And November also marks the start of the holidays. Even for non-religious families, there’s a constant hype for family time during the last two months of the year.
But family time can be hard if you can’t be yourself around them. Forcing yourself into a closet, being referred to by the wrong name or pronouns, not being able to talk about a significant other or others — it’s overwhelming. It can seem impossible in the face of everything going on right now.
For so much of the world, November is synonymous with family. But a lot of the world doesn’t have a family in the way that society says we need to. Queer people are historically forced out of homes, disowned, ignored or forgotten by their “given” families. (Such is too often the price of living an authentic life for the LGBTQ+ community.)
So we find family where we can. Family doesn’t always mean blood or relatives or the people you live with. We find family in those around us who accept us for who we are, in those people who remember names and pronouns and partners and identities, in those who give us the basic human right of respect.
We find family in the deep bonds of queer friendship. We find family in sports teams, book clubs, baking classes, coffee shop dates, classmates, online forums. We find family at sticky high-top tables in bars. We find family at work with people we see every day. We find family in literature and art and history and TV shows and film and representation.
I find a family in my close group of friends who, even separated by miles of distance, I can trust them with anything and everything. I find a family in living with a group of women who understand my experiences and enjoy the same things I do. I find a family in the future that my fiancée and me are building together.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month, a month-long observance focusing on the adoption of children in foster care. Children and young adults especially need somewhere they can call home, some people they can call family. There are so many ways that the average person can help those kids in need, from becoming a foster parent to volunteering. On Page 22 of the November issue of True Q Magazine, we discuss the myths and the facts about what it takes to be a foster parent.
November is also Transgender Awareness Month. November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is a day where the LGBTQ+ community and the community at large honor our trans siblings who were lost due to transphobia and violence. But it’s important to remember that we must honor those members of our community — our family — all the time. And the best way we can honor them is fighting for their rights.
So we find family wherever we can. Humans need some sort of connection with others. We thrive when we’re surrounded with positive forces, when we’re reminded of our worth. And so maybe family to me means something different than family to you, but all types of families matter and they’re all necessary.
And if you can’t find a family? Welcome to our family. Our arms are always open.
Copyright © 2018 True Media Group All Rights Reserved