By: Joey Uva
In my childhood, teenage years, and most of my twenties my family was defined by the family I was born into. After I came out as a gay man that changed. Not that I don’t have a great family, but for some reason, I, like so many other gay men, search for a connection to others like ourselves. In my search for that connection, I was lucky enough to have my daughter and find my partner. Searching for that connection never took away from my dream to have a family; it has expanded it to something greater.
The connections I have made -my friends -I consider my “other family”. They have supported me through rough times and good times; they support my life with my daughter and partner. We all support each other. We have dinners together, huge events, have our disagreements, make jokes, but most importantly, there is true sincerity and love in our relationships.
Over the past years there have been some great events where we all have gotten together to celebrate special times, honor each other, or just have some pure fun. Some of these events that will remain special moments for me are, Billy and Albert’s Garden Party, Oscar Party, the memorial held at Billy and Albert’s house for the passing of Albert’s mother, Justin and Alberto’s wedding, my AIDS marathon fundraiser held at Adam’s house, The Day of the Dead celebration, Our Summer Concert Parties at the Hollywood Bowl, New Year’s celebrations, group hikes, the White Elephant Christmas Potluck that Trevor and I have each year, our Coachella getaway, Gabi’s movie outings, weekend trips to the desert and day trips to the beach.
Our most recent gathering was for Trevor and me. We had a birthday celebration up in Big Bear for the 4th of July. Trevor and I were blessed that so many of our friends, our “other family” could be there to celebrate it with us. It was a weekend full of relaxation, many laughs, many drinks, great homemade food, a boat ride on the lake, and our big birthday party for Trevor’s 40th and my 44th on the 4th of July which included more drinking, dancing and singing. This was also to include the amazing Big Bear Lake fireworks display, which would have been great, were the trees not in the way. We all gathered on the back deck of the cabin to see the fireworks and tuned the radio to the Big Bear station to hear the music that went along. The fireworks started and all we saw was a now and then brief peeking of light over the tops of the trees. We all laughed, continued to listen to the music on the radio, sang and laughed some more, and because of the good nature of the group, we all continued to celebrate as if it were part of our master plan.
It has taken many ups and downs for me to be where I am today, to become a worthy friend, to become a father, to meet my wonderful partner and build a family. Today, I can honestly say, I have a wonderful life and none of it would be the same without my “other family” who remind me every day how great life is and how wonderful it is that we have each other.