AI: How do you define family?
I had a recent discussion with a guy I'm close to about how to define our relationship. We've been friends for a long time, but in some ways closer than friends. "Best friend" doesn't work for us, and it's a label I have given to other important people in my life. We are metamores (he is dating my girlfriend) but our friendship pre-dates that situation by many years, and the word doesn't indicate the strength of our relationship without her in the picture. We are not lovers ourselves, but the relationship has a similar amount of emotional intimacy and trust.
He said to me something to the effect of "Really, I think of you as a brother. Can I call you that?"
Of course. That's what it is.
One of the common experiences of people with queer identities is more stress, strife, and estrangement from our families than heterosexual cisgendered folks have. Add to that our history of not having our romantic relationships legally recognized, and some queer folks have found really different ways of identifying who our family is. This friend is not the first person I have considered family to whom I have no legal or biological connection, and I doubt he will be the last.
Who do you consider family? How do you define family for yourself and your own life? Do you think that the ways in which queer people define our families will change with increasing legal recognition and improving family acceptance?