Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bio family can embrace chosen family

PERSONAL POLITICAL / How my family has grown by having two gay kids

Ariel Troster / Xtra.ca / Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sometimes worlds collide in the strangest ways, especially when birth families and chosen families interact.

A few weeks ago, my tattooed femme friend brought her lover, a leather-clad bootblack, to dinner at my parents' house in North York. The two of them had met at Mr Leather Ottawa a couple of months earlier, when the bootblack asked the femme to hike up her skirt so she could polish the femme's boots. A hot affair has ensued ever since.

When I was recently back in Toronto visiting family, my mother decided to throw a giant dinner party, and announced that she wanted to meet some of my friends. So the femme and the bootblack joined me, my partner, my parents, grandmother and other assorted relatives for a gourmet kosher feast.

My grandmother, who is the most stylish clothes horse I've ever met in my life, oohed and ahhed over the femme's houndstooth kitten-heeled shoes. The bootblack displayed impeccable manners, clad in a tie and a smart leather vest. When my Mom asked the couple how they met, the femme declared, "she polishes boots for charity events!" It certainly made for an entertaining meal.

You see, my brother and I have raised our parents just as they have raised us. We grew up in a liberal, open-minded household. My mother, a lawyer, was always interested in human rights cases, so we followed the Supreme Court like other families follow the hockey game. I wrote my first editorial on abortion rights when I was 12, and when I turned 18 and was allowed to vote for the first time, I stubbornly insisted on placing an NDP lawn sign beside my parents' long-standing Liberal sign. They didn't remove it.

Still, I don't think anything prepared them for the experience of having two gay kids. My brother came out when he was 13. I followed three years later at 19, after having moved to Montreal. My father barely lifted an eyebrow, and Mom blurted out, "maybe we were a bit too open-minded?"

Read more about my open-minded family over at xtra.ca.

2 comments:

XUP said...

Nature/Nurture? A good percentage of gay people I know have gay siblings. Your parents sound like the kind of parent I hope I am.

Calou said...

hello!
I just discoverd your blog; I was looking on the Internet to find more information about choseen Families. I loved your post (& could totally realate to it).
I feel so lucky to have different spaces in my life where my chosen.family & bio.family can meet for some Fun.

I live with 5 other roomates & we have a lot of supper with friends; from time to time i'll come home & my mom will be in the kitchen because one of my roomates invited her for supper! & there's much more to it... i've been bringing friends at chrismas eve parties, or inviting my grand.ma to have breakfeast with some friends of mine...
All of this makes me feel that my bio.family is now a part of my chosen.family (or vice & versa). And it's a wonderfull thing.