Extended family / Family / Family-building

First Steps…..On Family:

Webster’s Dictionary lists over 15 definitions for the word “family.”  My favorites are the following:

9. a group of related things or people
10. a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together

 

While some of the definitions mention children and blood relations, I think it’s just as important to recognize the fact that by definition a family can be valid without either of those components.
I think that my family, which currently does not involve children of our own, and families like mine, are crucial to the infrastructure that is known as “lesbian family.”  As part of our (non legal) wedding vows, my wife and I made a point of paying tribute to our family – both the ones that we were born in to, and the one that we’ve chosen.
While our family structure does contain members that are of blood relation, some of the most important members are friends we’ve made along the way, who often know more about what’s going on with us, and care more about us, than some blood relations do. I find this almost unfortunate but have pushed through the pain of rejection to find joy and completion in our created family structure.  We are “aunties” to many gorgeous children (of queer and non queer parents, single parents, etc.) and are looked upon as “nieces” to some of our older lesbian friends. Friends who have, in my case anyway, watched my growth from teenager through young adult, to the almost 30 year old woman that I am today.  These lesbian aunties have been my queer role models, guiding me (sometimes) into making good choices that have definitely affected who I am, and the life I lead today.  Many times, they are the first I turn to with troubles, or if I am in need of advice.  This is evidenced by the “frequently called” list on my phone bill!
I’m so grateful that  Liza has given me the wonderful opportunity to stray from the stories/humor/ttc rambling that is my daily blog to be the voice of the childless (though hopefully not for too much longer) lesbian family here at LesbianFamily.org.  My goals are to further explore definitions of families, most specifically lesbian families, but all kinds of queer families as well.  As we continue to grow our families, we are going to face specific challenges, among them the struggle between the desire to assimilate and the desire to distinguish.  How do we secure the same rights and respect as our straight counterparts, while also managing to keep our queer identities?   And how do we maintain our uniqueness and sense of community in an increasingly accepting world, when queerness and queer pride is, at its roots, a reaction to persecution?
I’m looking forward to exploring these topics and more in the weeks ahead.  Thanks for reading!

No Comments

  1. Well said, J. So glad that those of not yet with children now have a voice.

  2. Hi J! I’m glad you are here writing about this. I had lesbo role models growing up as well. The first lesbians I knew were Moms of kids I went to high school with. Isn’t that wild? It was good though, cause I never thought that lesbians were always necessarily childless.

  3. I think your post is great. I consider myself and Lo a lesbian family already, too, even though we are childless. We wouldn’t call ourselves the Family O if we didn’t consider ourselves to be already a family. 🙂

    And it’s important to remember that family can have all different kinds of meanings for people. I look forward to more posts from ya.

  4. Do ya’ll think that we need another category in the sidebar, for families who don’t have children?

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