2 min

My leather queer family

Celebrating my chosen kink family

Credit: Xtra West files

Mostly when people tell me to count my blessings, I think of a BDSM scene.

“One! Thank you, Sir! May I have another!”

Out of every single thing that makes me the lucky grrl I am (besides my stellar sex life), here’s the blessing (Thank you! And another?) that I count most often: my leatherqueer family.

Family is a loaded word for many folks, but I find it a true description of what I, and those I love, spend careful time building.

We may not all have parents in common, but what else but ‘family’ do you call the people share your hard times as well as your joy; who drop off casseroles when you’re grief-stricken; who accept a gift of money when they’re broke but proud; and who patch your roof when it leaks and you realize that grrls with vertigo troubles shouldn’t climb tall ladders?

To call someone family is to stop weighing favours on the scales of simple friendship, and to recognize that while we all get our feelings hurt at times by those we love, it doesn’t mean that we stop caring.

And when we do age play it makes the concept of family even more real-and sometimes surreal. I was once in the situation of being Daddy to a femme Girl who was Mommy to a butch Boy. I was 28 years old, she, 30, the Boy, 40. The boy jokingly called me Grandpappy, and we all laughed at the delightful absurdity of it.

The folks I consider my family have widely varied countries of origin, milk language, and religion. We’re not all the same skin colour, height, or body type. It would be hard to spot us as a group by age, education, or taste in music.

My family is about shared history, common cause and cultural resemblance as much as it is about how deeply we’re entangled in the webs of relationships. And just like the commonly accepted model of family, we have sibling rivalries, personality clashes and suffer generation gap-induced communication troubles.

“Why, when I was your age, we had to fight parliament uphill both ways, in ankle deep snow. You youngsters don’t know how good you have it.”

No, we don’t always understand what hard-won foundation we’re standing on as we fight this year’s battles. But our elders and mentors can tell us, if we listen.

And hey! When my chosen family grows past my own small circle, and I no longer can find the time or space to know and love each of its members personally, I have a new name for it.

I call it community.