I guess I didn’t really realize this was a thing that gay people said coyly about other gay people. I was first introduced to this a few months ago, when I ran into a professional man I vaguely know from doing time in mental health facilities.
He said that he was there at this store opening because it was “in the family”.
I might have actually said, “Oh, how are you related?”
To which he replied, “No, the gay family.”
This is sweet, and sentimental for some people, but I really don’t feel like I am part of “the family”, the gay “family”. I feel like the gay family he alluded to is something more homo-normative queer people get to experience.
I am not opposed to queer kinships, and chosen families that are meaningful. Sometimes you literally need to claw yourself out of your own grave, and the only people with the shovels are the fags and dykes and trannies, and queers who surround you. The excluded people, the people who are excluded with you.
I do feel connected to queer people, but it’s more of an empathy. There’s a point where middle class people are just middle class people, and you are there with your art projects that no one really fancies, and you’re not going anywhere. You wallow in your downwardly mobile state, while the upwardly mobile go up.
For me, there is a deeper empathy for queers in trouble. I feel deep connections to queer people who are imprisoned, and people who can’t afford their hormones or other things that would literally save their lives. Like, I would cry if I stopped to think about it.
I understand that it’s nice to run into gay people in the world. This is nice, and it feels like your own identity is validated, and they’re “in the family”, just like you. If the “in the family” mentality works for you, that’s fine, but it doesn’t for me. It’s cool that there are some queer people “making it”, and being successful at some arbitrary measures of success.
There are those who are always “out” of everything, and those are the ones I love to tears. My queer family is dying, and my queer family is starving, and my queer family is somewhere very very alone and sad and crying.