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Posted by HIM on Wednesday February 16th, 2011
While doing my daily scouring of all the finest gay blogs (the non- and mostly non-pornographic ones) at work, I came across a brief article on Joe.My.God. about a brand new book which is sure to get everyone all worked up. “My Uncle's Wedding,” by Eric Ross, is for young children and is intended to explain same-sex marriage to kids without being preachy or heavy-handed. Instead, the colourful illustrations will appeal to the young and old alike.
I will probably end up buying this book, for the same reasons that I bought “The Boy in the Dress” or “Totally Joe.” While I am a bibliophile, I also enjoy indoctrinating my young relatives. Nieces and nephews exposed to my age-appropriate queer literature will be much more queer literate. At least I hope so. I hope that the presence of the gays in their entertainment and education will make it far less shocking that have them appear amongst their families and friends.
So when I buy “My Uncle's Wedding,” I will be doing so in order to save it for that fateful day when a relative's kid is a wide-eyed toddler and not a book destroying drool machine. I'll dress it up as a cute gift like I did with “And Tango Makes Three” where I coupled it with a couple of penguin plush toys. Then I will, once again, have prove to be a good guncle.
Just now as I type that portmanteau out a red line appears under it and draws to my attention that this is not a word. I don't mind really, because I don't actually like the term.
My problem with the term is that it somewhat diminishes the actual importance that aunts and uncles may play in life.
I have a gay uncle. I didn't realize it as a child. It makes me blush to admit, but I didn't realize that he was gay until my little brother pointed out to me sometime after high school when I myself had been out for years. It's probably because he lived in Vancouver and I grew up on a farm in Delta. I'm not bringing this up to lament my aforementioned ignorance on his orientation, nor his ignorance of mine. Instead I'm hoping that I'll be able to strengthen familial bonds which I seem to have neglected. Since moving to Vancouver I go visit my parents at most once a month. In fact I am back in my hometown more often to see my doctor than I am to see my family. This is an important time to because in less than a month, my older brother will be a father.
I should probably mention that I have a big family and all of my nieces and nephews up to this point are actually the kids of cousins and close family friends. So this one is another turning point where my older brother, who was always the golden boy, seems to raise the bar. It's like finding out that a person you graduated with got married or had a baby. However this time it has slightly more meaning and expectation.
My family doesn't like to intrude upon my life with expectations, which is a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand I have never felt too pressured into things like playing a sports or getting good grades, which was nice because I hated sports and got good grades anyway. Even when it came to dating, my parents never asked me if I had a girlfriend.
On the other hand, my innate laziness and predilection to procrastinate left me somewhat stagnant. I enjoyed my freedom, but never actively embraced it. Stemming from this I became a harsh critic of myself. I held myself to a higher standard and chastised myself when I failed to meet my own sometimes lofty expectations.
And now my brother is going to be a father. It made me reflect on my own life and have a little bit of a early mid-twenties crisis. Am I where I expected or should I buy a Porsche to compensate?
More often than not I think so. I'd like to have seen a little more of the world. I'd like to have discernible abs. However, by and large I'm proud of the things I've done and who I am. One regret that I have is that again, I don't see my family enough. I wasn't in my brother's wedding party but I don't blame him, because he wouldn't be in mine.
So why do I feel like this is a failing? Aren't familial issues a trademark of gays? We have a habit of running off to the nearest big city where flourish in tightly knit communities, circles of friends, and chosen families. Gay villages have a tendency to insulate us from the rest of the world. Amidst the relative safety of the Davie village I've developed a tendency to refer to talk about “straight friends.” I never had straight friends growing up. I just had friends without distinction. In essence I have othered myself in the familiarity of the gay village. It really is my home now, surely the same way that my Uncle felt when I was growing up. Despite the improvements to the relationship I have with my Uncle, the fun we have cackling about mutual friends during a drag show, or complaining about the price of cocktails at 1181; I find myself wanting to be closer to my future niece or nephew.
I don't even care if it's a boy or a girl, hetero or homo, so long as I can show up to their lacrosse games, recitals, and read them subversive picture books about how one day their uncle may marry a man.
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