II don’t know how it happened, but there was a huge explosion in the number of babies around me. One minute my friends and I were all in the pub drinking too many beers for a Thursday night and the next a flock of storks descended on us. Everywhere I turn there’s a friend announcing a pregnancy, or a bedridden friend with pregnancy vomiting, or me, a regular person, throwing up when someone posts one of those 3D ultrasounds of their baby (sorry , they haunt me and I’m scared), or a baby’s first birthday or a brand new baby to visit. They’re babies galore and I couldn’t be happier. Not only are the children cute, but with each baby brought into my life, I can more deeply inhabit the life role that has been granted to me. I am a childless gay aunt.
Let me explain what I mean – I’m gay, I don’t have kids, and I’m an aunt. It’s important to note here that when I talk about being an aunt, I’m not just talking about the children I’m related to by blood. Being queer and building community means forming special bonds with your friends (even straight ones), establishing friendships that feel like family, strengthening the love, care and support you choose to give, and hopefully , see them last for decades to come.
I’ve always had a thing for aunts of all kinds. There was nothing I loved growing up more than the special pleasure of being able to leave my brothers at home while I went to live in another town with one of my hilarious, smart, and outspoken aunts. In the sweet spot, I was old enough to have fun with them (and try sips of wine) while they were young enough not to be interested in settling down yet. For a short magical window, I had their full attention before it was cruelly ripped away by the birth of their own children.
Becoming a CGA is not something I chose. I knew I was queer from a young age, but the childless part is just how the cookie fell apart, and by cookie, I mean my disaffected uterus. Unless something surprising happens, I will probably remain childless.
It will free me to reach the pinnacle of my gay aunt’s powers. Any biology at play inside of me, forcing me to enjoy the smell of a baby’s head, or giving me the instinct to keep a baby in my care alive, will not be channeled into my own offspring but rather rejected to the babies around me.
I’m not trying to claim that any type of aunt is superior – they’re all wonderful. They love you and are happy to see you, treat you much like an adult, and spill secrets about your parents. In addition to regular aunts, CGAs also have a strong alliance with Guncles (gay uncles) and Cool Young Uncles. But CGA is progressive, fun, cosmopolitan. She has all the streaming services. You can talk to her about anything because there’s nothing she likes more than gossip and you know she’ll be cool. More importantly, you can count on her to never have children (except for the series of tabby cats she weirdly insists on calling babies) and to give you her full attention. This may be the kind of child I was and what I wanted out of life – but it seems to be ideal. It’s a role I look forward to filling.
I know some people find it difficult to see their group of friends change as the children are born, but for this CGA, it has been a delight. Sure, your friends might not have as much time for you right now, but it’s special to see someone you love become a parent. It’s also fascinating and fun to watch someone you’ve seen do things like drink a beer out of a shoe and be just as excited about their baby getting a bottle. It’s nice to see them evolve and prioritize this person they made.
It’s so special for me to be invited to be a part of my friends’ lives and to be chosen as one of the people they want to influence their baby. It’s even more special to be able to return the baby when you leave and sleep soundly for eight hours each night in your own bed. This is the prerogative of a CGA. I can’t wait to see what kind of people all these babies become – and I can’t wait to force them to spend time with me forever.