This holiday season many LGBTQIA+ people will celebrate with their “chosen” family.
For some of us, going home for Christmas is a tradition we may love or loathe in equal measure.
It’s a wonderful time to see the family you love but it’s also the time you have to cope with others you’re not so fond of.
You may have to share the special day with a cousin who shares his latest conspiracy theory or that aunt who drops casual racism into the conversation.
For some, it’s often a more serious issue.
We all know many in our LGBTQIA+ community aren’t accepted by their immediate family. And during the holidays there is a constant reminder in Hallmark movies, TV adverts and at your local supermarket that this is meant to be a time for “family”.
However, the wonderful thing about our community is that we have a long tradition of forming our chosen families.
The friends who understand what it’s like to be LGBTQIA+ in the good times and the bad.
Additionally, many LGBTQIA+ simply may not be able to afford to visit family in the current economic climate or maybe living in Australia from overseas.
Thankfully, over the holiday period, many of the most organised in our community will bring their chosen families together to celebrate.
This may be Christmas Day itself, a celebration during the holiday season, or just a good old-fashioned excuse for a party without an early work start.
One such person is Ben Biltoft who is putting on a Christmas Day event for the first time.
“I won’t be able to spend Christmas with my parents this year due to plans changing, so I made the decision to host a chosen family Christmas so my loved ones and I won’t be alone on Christmas Day,” Ben told me.
“I believe chosen family is important to us all, so we aren’t missing out on these occasions and the isolation we might feel. We are all family and family isn’t just by blood. We are all a community.”
For Daniel Watson and his husband Wesley, they put on an event for the eighth year running.
“We host a themed Christmas party in our home each year – we spend months choosing the theme, we have kitchen staff come in, style our apartment to match said theme and I spend far too long curating the playlist which is always a mix of festive bops and the biggest hits of the year that’s passed,” he says with much enthusiasm.
So, just a casual get-together then!
It was held in the build-up to Christmas and they certainly don’t spare the effort.
However, even with the detailed planning and extravagance of it all, the heartfelt reason behind his event is very much there.
“Christmas can be a really lonely time for a lot of people, particularly if you’re estranged from your actual family or you don’t attach positive memories to the holidays. I always feel so uplifted when I hear of LGBTQIA+ people finding a home with a chosen family that’s built on love, trust, support and fun – certainly not ideals that everyone gets to experience growing up, Daniel says.
Our community is full of Bens and Daniels and so many people will be lucky to have these chosen family experiences.
And as Daniel says, it’s a time built for a community.
“Christmas is the gayest time of year, so it should be celebrated as such!”
If you are struggling over the holiday season, don’t be afraid to get help. Reach out to LGBTQIA+ support service QLife at qlife.org.au or 1800 184 527.
For the latest LGBTIQA+ Sister Girl and Brother Boy news, entertainment, community stories in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagra