“Baby” Carrera talks about being in a “Gay Family”
Many people don’t know that there are several subcultures within LGBTQ culture. One of these subcultures is known as the “house system” or “ball culture”. The house system consists of a house “mother” and/or “father”, who may typically be either a transgender person or a Drag Queen and those whom the house mother/father “adopts” as their own “gay child/children”. The last name or surname, which is adopted by “gay children” belongs to the house mother or father. These families were created as a way for members of the LGBT community to support LGBT teens who had been disowned by family or lost housing as a result of being open about their identity. “Gay families” are most often a band of friends who find support in each other and often take the place of one’s biological family. I would like to share my experience as being a part of a “Gay/Drag Family.”
As many people come to know me, one of the few things they do not learn about me is that I am part of a gay family. Before my “gay father”, whom I love so dearly, adopted me, I had a strong misconception about the whole “gay family” thing. I thought that in order to be part of one you had to be willing to be a Drag Queen. I thought that having a “gay family” meant that I would have to do whatever my gay father and/or mother told me to do. In addition, I was a really low-key person and being in a gay family meant people would know who I was, especially those who are in the scene. I also didn’t like the idea of having someone guide me in the right direction and teach me wrong from right, because I am an adult and I know what to do and what not to do. You might say I was a very independent person and not open to the idea of having anyone teach me “the ropes”.
I soon came to find out having a “gay family” was far from what I had thought. After about a week of trying to decide whether or not I really wanted to go through with being part of the family, I decided that I would give it a try. I replied to my soon-to-be gay father, William, with, “Yes, you can be my gay father.” I had never met my gay father before I actually told him yes, so I didn’t really know what do to or say when I actually met him. The day I met him I also met some of the other family members including my grandmother Kimberly, my cousin Giana as well as my aunt or as I call her Titi Carmen—Carmen Carrera. In time I met many more members of my gay family and I was soon given the name “Baby” by my grandmother and father because I am the youngest in the family. One of the few members of my family that I have yet to meet is Angela Carrera, who is the overall mother of the Carrera family. However, I have seen pictures and videos of her and from what I have seen, read, and heard; she is absolutely beautiful and talented.
I have been part of the Carrera family for almost six months now, and have recently been granted the right to carry the Carrera last name. In order to earn this right I had to prove myself to the elder members of the family as a goal-oriented, intelligent young man who has goals in life and is pursuing a greater education. I am a fierce advocate for equal rights. I also do charity work, am a safe sex educator, and serve as a role model for those who may be younger than I am. All these things were considered in granting me the use of the Carrera name. I definitely have to thank my gay father for playing such a huge role in my life. He has taught me the wisdom, guidance and love that a father can give; something my biological father did little of. Although, he is only a few years older than I am, I have come to respect, honor and love my gay father as if he were my blood. Just as I have learned to love him, I have also come to embrace being part of the Carrera family and love everyone in my family who have helped me in any way including my grandmother, my cousins, uncles and aunts. They have all taught me things I will value for the rest of my life.