Blood is thicker than water is something we are taught from birth. We are taught that our families are made of blood as opposed to the relationships that we form with those closest to us. For many queer people, we know the reality of this statement. Blood is just as thin as water, if not thinner. Families may cut ties at the drop of a hat due to a child or relative coming out. If they do not immediately cut the relative out, they may harass, assault, abuse, the person mentally, physically, and even sexually in an attempt to change them or chase them from the family.
Often our families are those who support and love us for who we are. If there is one thing queer people know about, its how to make families from scratch. We create our families from the friends who accept up after we have seemingly lost everything for simply existing. We make patchwork families, held together by legitimate love, something that may be lacking from our family of origin, whether they are truly related by blood, legal documents, or formalities. Among these families we create, we create safety and comfort.
The families we learn to create, are the ones that truly last a lifetime. These people support us at our highest and our lowest. They see us through the dark by radiating the light we need most, no matter how dim or bright that light needs to be. If there is one thing queer people need, its the true and accepting embrace and support that can be created with these patchwork families. They are stronger than any of the flimsy ties that blood may have attempted to weave together.
With the families we create, we can strengthen the fabric as well as the threads that tie us together. We can create a quilt, a safety net to keep us afloat or to catch us when we fall, no matter the height. Our families we create allow us to grow and to flourish to the people we can be. They allow us to climb to new heights, letting us know that if we fall, they will not only catch us, but put us back on our feet.
Family, becomes something we create. The definition of family becomes one not tied by blood, documents, or legality, but something that we create. It almost becomes an art of its own. It is always something beautiful to the creator, no matter if outsiders cannot understand it. Our lives and loves do not need to be understood by others to be beautiful and meaningful, they need to be important to us for those things. Family is about the love between a group of people, not matter how often they see each other, if ever. Family becomes about the support we give and the stories we create involving each other. Our family is up for us to decide.
Without this acceptance of family as bonds we create, we force people to believe family to be something it should never be; pain. Without our created patchwork families, created with whatever ragtag cloth we can stitch together, we run the risk of going naked, being exposed and unprotected. We allow family to become those who do not support us and would rather rip apart whatever covering we create to leave us vulnerable. That is not to say we cannot be vulnerable around family, it means that instead of forcing us to be exposed, family allows us to expose ourselves as we see fit and comfortable, and accepts this.
The queer families we create, are just that, queer. They are queer in identity, queer in action, queer in love, queer in expression, and queer in definition, even if they do not include entirely queer people. When we create our own families, we queer our families, for they exist outside of the norms society dictates family to be. Society tells us that our family needs to be something connected and affirmed by blood or the government, not something we decide. To society, like many other things, family is something thrust upon us and something we must accept and not question. This lies parallel to the very identities that we claim or proclaim that creates the tears in the fabric of our family of origin. By going against the grain, these support structures fray and tear, something a patchwork support will never do due to the interlocking and interwoven pieces.
Family is not about blood. It is not about relation. Family is about love. Family is about what we create with those we love, and how they support us in our most desperate or our most elated moments. Family is about support. Family is about acceptance. Family is about those moments at 3am screaming along to a guitar solo, feeling those threads strengthen and intertwine even a little bit more. The queer patchwork families we create are ever expanding, ever growing. This is what family truly is. These queer families we make are the real families for us, and nothing can tell us otherwise.