Sometimes I refer to Oscar Wilde as my gay dad. Actually, I say that an awful lot – say that someone is my mom/dad/grandma/et cetera when everyone knows they aren’t – now that I think about it. Like, I tag my friends in pictures of Laverne Cox with comments like “WOWOWOW I LOVE MY MOM SHE’S SO BEAUTIFUL.”
I was talking about this with my online friend Norah the other day, and it spiraled into a whole discussion about how I should make a Gay Family Tree™. Well, I actually think I’ll save that project for a rainy day because I don’t have the patience to carefully draw it all out, but I thought it would be sort of goofy fun to come up with a list of LGBTQ+ folks I’d love to have as my relatives.
Naturally, let’s begin with Oscar Wilde. I mean, in some ways he definitely isn’t the type of person whose life you’d want to emulate since he died at such a young age, sick and penniless. But while he was alive? He lived life to the fullest. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said I want to be the modern-day female version of Oscar: Just as bitingly funny, and just as gay. (And maybe just as stylish, too, someday? We shall have to see.)
While we’re at it, let’s throw Freddie Mercury into the mix as well, because I am apparently set on building the most talented gay family ever. And since including Oscar Wilde proves that I will not be stopped by simple facts such as people being deceased, there’s no reason I can’t add Freddie Mercury. I DO WHAT I WANT.
Laverne Cox would be a great mom, I think. She’s just so… level-headed? Every time I read or watch one of her interviews, she seems very kind, practical, down-to-earth. Calm. I’m an anxious and scatter-brained person, so I really appreciate those who are like, “hey, I know the situation LGBTQ+ are in right now is scary, but we can’t let that get in the way of fighting for our rights and living our lives to the fullest.”
Ivan Coyote, too, seems like the sort of calm, reasonable parent I need. Plus, they write ALL OF THE THINGS??? #goals
Can’t forget Alison Bechdel! Gosh, all these people are just so talented. Guess I have a lot to live up to.
Aaaand now for grandparents. I would DIE for the chance to meet Ian McKellen, seriously. I love him in every movie I’ve seen him in and would love to sit and listen to stories about what it was like to grow up gay in the forties and fifties.
I feel like I should include Elton John here as well? Because I grew up adoring his music, and because we have approximately the same dress sense – which is to say very colorful, very gay, and very outlandish. We can’t all be as stylish as Oscar Wilde, after all.
Some of us spent years in the closet and STILL don’t know how to dress well.
Last but not least, EDIE WINDSOR. She was the lead plaintiff of United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court case that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. I’M SO PROUD OF HER AND I WISH I COULD CALL HER MY GRANDMA.
What about siblings? There are a bunch of bright, talented young people I wish I could call my brothers and sisters: Hayley Kiyoko and Troye Sivan and Shura as older siblings, Amandla Stenberg and Jazz Jennings as younger ones. I’ve always been curious about what it would be like to have sisters, or an elder brother instead of a younger one.
You may have noticed that I haven’t said a word about cousins, aunts, and uncles. That’s because I can’t think of anyone I’d love to have fill those roles more than the adults I know in Iowa City, particularly the ones in my LGBTQ+ writing group.
I mean, I’m technically an adult now and have been for the past few years – as weird as that thought is to me – but I mean Real Adults™. You know, older than twenty-five or so, not just young college students playing at being adults. I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH! It’s honestly so inspiring to see them all living out their lives, being their true selves and trying to find happiness. I obviously haven’t seen them in a while since I’m not spending the summer in Iowa City, so I miss them all, like, A LOT.
Who would you include in your dream LGBTQ+ family?