Family : what’s your definition?

— Today, Family Day, and tomorrow (limited) enjoy a 90-minute session at $90 (usually $120); OR – book your own session plus one for the “alternative family member” of your choice and get the second session for half-price. —

Today is Family Day in many parts of Canada, including here in Ontario.

In the 1980’s, the American right wing conservatives co-opted the word “family” in such chilling phrases as “Family Values”.  Which was code for “Get the fags”, to put it bluntly.

Jake, Shaun and little Matthew, in Alabama, where equal marriage is now legal.  Happy Family Day! from
Jake, Shaun and little Matthew, in Alabama, where equal marriage is now legal. Happy Family Day! from

What they meant to do was to own the meaning of family and to fix it forever as “the values of conservative/republican white middle-class just-plain-folks heterosexuals”, which values did not apparently include empathy, open-mindedness, generosity, charity or inclusiveness.  They wanted family to be as sterile and closed as a gated community, another hideous invention of that awful decade.

Flash forward:  Now the world is finally beginning to acknowledge, with Marriage Equality becoming law all over the U.S. (in Canada we’ve had it for years), what gay men have known all their lives:  That family is something you choose, not just something immutable that is handed to you. 

Family is flexible, mutable, ad hoc.  This new attitude marks the rebirth of what used to be called “community”, a word that contains the meaning of “togetherness”.

Family means, to me:  

The people who love and support you.  The people you can turn to when you’ve made a mistake – not to approve your mistake, but to reaffirm that they still love you despite.

The people you accept you just as you are.  The people you can share your most intimate secrets with.  The people who say good things about you behind  your back.  The people who stick with you.

The people I choose, regardless of what they look like, how much money they make, what kitchen appliances they own or what position in society they hold.

Who’s your family?

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