Sunday Reading: Friends Are Family, Explored

Queer persons often form families as a means to seek comfort, acceptance, and understanding. Earlier this week, we explored the subject with a group of gay men in Los Angeles. The dinner and conversation lasted hours, with much of the conversation narrowly missing publication. One of the most moving moments cut was where each person described the person sitting next to them, explaining their place in the family: these are their descriptions.

Jim Hansen
“Jim’s definitely the most paternal and maternal. He’s dad and mom.” - Jeffery
“He can be really strict like a father but really loving like a mother.” - Jordan
“He’s almost like the fun aunt who actually has responsibility.” - Jeffery
“No aunt has ever had responsibility.” - Drew


Bryan Safi
“Bryan is like the fun uncle. When he comes, he has fuck loads of presents and everyone is like OH MY GOD LET ME SEE!! UNCLE BRYAN!! UNCLE BRYAN!! And then he leaves during the night. And you don’t see him for another six months but, when he comes back, it's UNCLE BRYAN’S BACK!! UNCLE BRYAN’S BACK!!” - Jim


Shaugn Buchholz
“Shaughn, to me, is a kid brother. He’s like the youngest son in
Death Of A Salesman.” - Bryan
“Shaughn has his shit together, at least on the surface.” - Jeffery
“Shaughn is the son that comes up to you, even though you don’t have time for it, and is like, ‘I got into Yale.’ and you’re like ‘WOAH.’” - Bryan
“He does everything right.” - Jim


Tim McKernan
“I see Tim as an older brother, coming from a younger brother. Tim is very much someone who teaches me—and us—how to behave and how to be in the world. To me, I feel like that. He’s the most sensitive, respectful person.” - Shaughn
“Tim’s a better person than the rest of us.” - Sam
“I often think to myself, ‘How would Tim deal with this situation right now?’ And I think he would do this—and I do that.” - Shaughn
“Tim reminds me to be a better person, through his actions. Never by telling me but just by the way he handles things.” - Drew


Sam Pancake
“Sam is like a parental figure—but the kind that, after everyone goes to bed, is sitting there and says, ‘Come over here: let me tell you like it is.’” - Tim
“Sam is the cigarette smoking grandmother on the porch, telling the story.” - Jeffery
“To me, if this were Steel Magnolias, you would be M’Lynn.” - Bryan
“If I did a reading of Steel Magnolias at Akbar, you’d be M’Lynn.” - Jeffery


Jordan Firstman
“Jordan is the newest child. He’s the stepkid who showed up late in the game. He’s been here the whole time, in a leather jacket, smoking your cigarettes and fucking your boyfriend.” - Sam
“He’s the character in a show who, after a season, just shows up and people are like, ‘You know Jordan...he’s been here the whole time!’” - Jim
“He plunged right into this family and did not take no for an answer.” - Sam


Drew Droege
“This is so obvious because he plays them so much but Drew is a wise aunt, an all knowing aunt who has had this full experience and she knows everything. She might say too much but she is the truth.” - Jordan
“You really are Shirley Maclaine, in every role. You are every role she’s ever played.” - Bryan
“Especially Guarding Tess.” - Jeffery
“And Irma La Douce!” - Sam
“Madame Sousatzka?!” - Drew


Jeffery Self
“Aunt Jackie from
Rosanne. The fun, young, single aunt. You are the life of the party but you’re also salt of the earth. Jeffrey has surprised me over the years. You embrace a persona but, underneath, there is a dear, deep, tender, real person. You’re so smart and you feel everyone’s feelings and you think about them. You have everyone in your life all the time.” - Drew