On Thursday, families will gather in millions of homes across the country for Thanksgiving. But for many with a sexual orientation or identities that are anything other than straight or cis, there might not be a family home that's welcoming.
This is why many friends get together and create what's known as a “chosen family.” And in Sacramento, the LGBT Center is one of those annual gathering spots this holiday.
Sadly, this year’s Chosen Family Feast, on Thursday from noon to 2 p.m., take place after the recent deadly Colorado Springs nightclub mass shooting, when members of the region’s LGBTQ community are perhaps more than ever in need of safe and inclusive spaces.
Before this past weekend’s hate crime and fatal shooting at Club Q in Colorado, CapRadio spoke with Jason Alvear of the LGBT Center about their annual Chosen Family Feast tradition.
What is the history of this gathering?
Seven years ago, we saw that there was a need for a community to gather for the holidays. And we wanted to make the center a place where they can gather during the holidays and share a warm meal.
You call it something different this year. Talk a bit about that.
We changed up the branding from Friendsgiving to Chosen Family Feast to keep it kind of closer to being about chosen family. The holidays can be hard for folks, so we wanted to make it reflect what's actually happening here.
The last few years had to be tough. How did you handle COVID.
During COVID, we saw a huge dip in folks coming to chosen family feasts. But we were still here. We were able to feed around 75 people. We had full PPE, but we set up to-go boxes. We set up places for folks to deliver meals to community. Even though it wasn't a normal chosen family feast, we made it work.
You expect it to grow this year?
Yeah, absolutely. So. In 2021, we brought it back to in-person and it was a success. We went from, you know, 75 to closer to around 150 people. And we hope that this year is going to be around 150 to 200 people.
And the menu, it's what, like, traditional turkey and sides?
Oh, yeah. It's traditional holiday fare with of course vegan options and vegetarian options for folks who have dietary restrictions. But you'll be able to find the traditional turkey, the ham, the mac and cheese — and a lot of love.
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