The folx who showed up are the people I choose #LGBTQFamiliesDay

This is my 15th year participating in #LGBTQFamiliesDay

Monday, June 3, 2024, is the 19th Annual LGBTQ Families Day, a time to celebrate the many families with LGBTQ people in them who live in every state and almost every county of the U.S. The event aims to raise awareness of the diversity, joys, and challenges of all LGBTQ families—found, formed, and chosen—who exist throughout our society. The event is held on the first weekday of June, between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, in order to honor all parents but also to highlight that not all families fit into the traditional structure of one mother and one father. Additionally, June is LGBTQ Pride Month.


It is a sensitive topic this year. I lost most of my family, something that hurts me every day. To be honest, I did consider not participating this year because I had very little positive content to share. But who wants to break a 15 year streak?

From late August to mid-March, I lived with my lesbian friends and my nephews (17 and 12) due to personal stuff. The circumstances were awful, but living with a family for six months was pretty great.

I do not have children, so didn’t have the insight into their day to day stuff. Bathrooms, random socks, missing shoes, and piles of dishes at the bedside. Discussions about deodorant. Very loud music in the bathroom immediately next to the wall of my bedroom at seemingly 5 AM. Lots of flopping down on furniture with big sighs.

I didn’t want them to take on the adult emotions of my situation so we did a lot of fun and silly stuff. One thing that became our new tradition was ordering delivery, usually Chinese food. I always ordered extra appetizers. We went to Starbucks and Eat ‘n Park (local family chain.) We watched hours of The Simpsons, Once Upon a Time, Star Wars shows, Nic Cage movies, and on and on and on. I’m pretty sure I watch Eddie Murphy’s Candy Cane Lane about 14 times.

My ultimate best greatest moment was when the 12-year-old received a much coveted lightsaber for Christmas and before I could stop myself, I named it Cindy. He was horrified at my cheekiness. But the damage was done. Cindy, she was. His head explodes when anyone says it. He has sworn to have his revenge.

It was an internal glimpse into what makes a family. I wanted to go home, absolutely. But I was also sad that this experience was ending. If we could have found a way to build a tiny house in the backyard for me and the cats, that would be awesome. But not feasible.

I don’t know what the future looks like for me. In two years, I lost both my parents, my wife, my brother, and my extended family.

I don’t love the idea of ‘chosen family’ because my assigned family was so terrible. I don’t want to replicate that.

Yet I do consider these young men my true and forever nephews. Especially now. They stepped up for me. E gave me his bed and slept on an air mattress for a month. J drove me on all of my errands and constantly challenged me to get out of the house, politely. They seamlessly included me in the family routines. We had meaningful talks about mental health and why adult stuff was hard.

When my father died, they both offered comfort in their own unique ways. J raced home from school to sit with me until his Mom came home. He was so sweet and kind. E is the reluctant family hugger, but generously distributed many to me.

The anecdotes are endless. I miss them like crazy. I’m so grateful that they embraced me with kindness and generosity when I was very low.

They made me smile every single day.

Still being back in my own home after 196 days is good. If I could fuse the nephews with the cats, perfection.

My biological family did not show up for me when I needed them most, much like they didn’t show up during my childhood. They will continue to have to live with their cruelty.

I do not. Now I know that it doesn’t matter what language I use to describe relationships. The folx who showed up  are the people I choose.

If you would like to read our previous years’ contributions to #LGBTQfamiliesDay:

2023 – The Niblings Call It Quits on #LGBTQFamiliesDay 2023

2022 – #LGBTQFamiliesDay – Being the Adult I Needed in My Own Childhood

2021 – Remember the Aunties on #LGBTQFamiliesDay

2020 – #MasQUeUp to protect your family on this 15th Annual #LGBTQFamiliesDay

2019 – We #AMPLIFY Stories from 50+ LGBTQ Parents in Western Pennsylvania on #LGBTQFamiliesDay

2018 – 50 LGBTQ Parents #AMPLIFY Their Experiences for #LGBTQFamiliesDay 2018

2017 – #AMPLIFY LGBTQ Families, 40 Parents Share Their Experiences

2016 – #AMPLIFY LGBTQ Families, 29 Parents Share Their Experiences

2014 – Summertime Traditions For Our LGBTQ Family

2013 – Blogging Because We Are Family!

2012 – Being an Advocate: 7th Annual Blogging for LGBT Families

2011 – Blogging for LGBT Families 2011 – Don’t Devalue the Aunties

2010 – Pittsburgh LGBTQ Families – a Blog Post

2009 – Blogging for LGBT Families in Pennsylvania


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