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Seattle, WA – Family is important. It can provide a sense of belonging, support and love. Regardless of the relationship we may have with our biological families, for many queers like me, it is our families of choice that provide the foundations of our lives. This is, in my experience, especially true for my fellow kinksters, gender queers and those of us who express radically alternative sexual identities. While I have been witness to a few notable exceptions, for the most part, our queer identities were too much for our biological families to handle... there love was almost always conditional. They could love us so long as we didn't turn into some faggot or dyke. They could still love us, while hating the sin, so long as we didn't tell anyone, especially other members of the family who would never understand our dirty little secret. Father time and mother nature help you if you blurred your gender or got caught tying the neighbor kid to a tree and pissing on him a little, 'cause that would require professional help. By the time we became adults, we either learned censored what we shared with the bios or we were censured by them. For me, the later finally came when I was shooting my first, dirty little movie. I never really was one to accept conditions being place on who I am.
Luckily for me, long before that happen I had already found what would become my family of choice, or more accurately, Daddy Dave had already found those of us that would become and, in turn expand, the Dragon Clan. What Daddy Dave started with my brothers Gene Romaine, Mark Nunley, Tristan Steele and myself has grown to include brothers Odie, Bozif, Hugh, John and Panther (another one of those gender queers); sisters Mercea and Lynnda Hale; and one other who will be invited to join the family as a brother next month. When we include all of our whelps (the term we use to identify the boys and girls that are collared by Dragons) and partners, there are now thirty-five of us in the clan and even more in what we would consider our extended family.
My own family has grown over the past couple years as well. My boys Chris, Timmy, Rico and Derek, his boy JC, JC's boy David, our pup Element and Doug (Derek's partner of thirteen years) all contribute to my life in immeasurable ways. They have become the center of my life... the inner circle with whom I share the most intimate moments. It may not look like a traditional family, but then ours is not a very traditional existence and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Earlier this month the Dragons hosted Blood, Sweat and Fear, our first annual Dragon family run - a three day event held over the 4th of July weekend way out in the boonies. We chose the holiday weekend because Dave used to host a big barbeque at his place on Lake Union back in the day. We invited everyone in the family and some of our closest friends. Not everyone was able to make it to the run, but those who did found a space for play and helped create an atmosphere that celebrated who we are, unconditionally.
Chris, Timmy, and Derek, his boy JC, and our pup Element joined me for the run. While we missed Rico, David and Doug, it was still an amazing opportunity to connect as a family and explore the interpersonal relationships that embody how we feel about each other. We tortured the puppy. Derek beat his boy. Chris had my initials carved into his shoulder in addition to having Derek and I run needles on him. Timmy got strung up in full-suspension. And, we each took our turn bottoming to fire flogging. I've posted several images to the Blood, Sweat and Fear gallery, if you care to check them out.
A few days ago my mother called me. It was an unexpected call because my mother had not spoken to me in over two years. She stopped returning my calls after my sister informed her I was performing in adult films. After the first year, I stopped trying to reach out to her. If living life on my own terms meant the sacrifice of my relationships with the bios, then so be it.
My mother had changed her number at some point so I didn't recognize it when the call came in to my phone. Once the shock wore off, I asked who died. No one died. She said she just wanted to know I was doing alright. Exceptionally well, I responded. And, of course, was I still doing 'those movies'. Yes, directing, as a matter of fact. It was a short conversation.
I'm not sure where all this will lead, but I do know this: while there is always room for more love in my life, I have enough to sustain me thanks to the relationships I've built in creating my own family of choice. Blood may be thicker than water but nothing is thicker than the blood that is spilt.