Modern Families

September 2, 2014

A group of my friends jokingly refer to themselves as “Modern Family”.

It’s true, they are.

If you happened upon them hanging out at Stanley Park you’d find a Benetton ad of people who span age, gender, sexual orientation and race boundaries. Some of whom are connected genetically. Most of whom spend a lot of time laughing. They represent what the queer community has long understood as chosen family.

I too have my own Modern Family. Well, it’s more of a volleyball team. Through the Vancouver Gay Volleyball Association I met a brilliant group of people that quickly became both my teammates, and some of my closest friends. While one might assume that a gay volleyball association would lead to gay friends, what makes my team especially wonderful is the diverse mix of queer and allied, male, female, white, and Asian players.

While we don’t always win our games, we totally win at #diversity.

What I see happening around me is “Modern Families” becoming more and more recognized in mainstream culture. Queer definitions of families have always existed. Prior to queer families being legally recognized in Canada, chosen family often existed out of necessity after our families of origin rejected us. These families were a source of safety and love. Today when I think of my Modern Family unfortunately that is still true for some of us, though many of us remain connected to our families of origin.

Yet, we continue to expand the definition of family. Which for me is expanding the definition of love.

The queer community can (and should!) take some credit for helping all of us understand what family means in 2014. That family is not a genetic or legal acknowledgement, but a group of people who offer unconditional love and support.

And now, it’s come full circle.

Under B.C.’s new Family Law Act, up to four people can be listed as parents on a child’s birth certificate. While the implications are not limited to queer families, I applaud the history of queer families for forging the path and challenging traditional definitions of who we choose to call family. For going beyond who is and who is not bound to us by DNA. For changing the rules, for everyone.

From not being legally recognized, to influencing the legal structures that define family, I am so proud of our community for continuing to live, love and celebrate each other.

From our Modern Q Family to yours…


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