a lunar feast with chosen family.

"hot water just pushes it all down."

This photo essay captures the gathering of folks in my community who identify as queer, trans and/or non-binary and who also identify as Asian. A coming together for those who rely on chosen family for survival and light, for safety and for joy. For those who are live far from their relatives and other family members or loved ones.

A shared and intimate feast to allow space in reimagining what family means to us and how we want to show up in the world. The comfort in the presence of new friends and kin. A combination of our favourite homemade and nostalgic take-out dishes, from four-hour braised pork belly on an egg drop and rice cake soup to one of my favourite fried chicken dishes in the city.

I encourage you to play the audio recordings below as you move through the photos.

Lunar New Year is a time when thousands of people travel from different places all over the world, to where their families lives or to where they can gather with relatives to celebrate, spend time cooking and feasting. It can be very difficult for folks who are Asian queer, trans and non-binary to be with their relatives in gatherings like these, and with the added challenges and complexities of a pandemic - you can be very far away from those who you love and care for.

This feast and gathering is meant for chosen family and new connections. To surround yourself with people who can relate to you struggles, your joys and perhaps the way you were brought up  - while also making space for the unique familial and cultural traditions. There is a community of folks in this place who desire, crave and need connection through culture, language, food and storytelling. To be able to access a space such as this and have the opportunity to connect with others, be yourself and not need to translate or give explanation of your experiences - is something that could be life-changing during a time of limited social interaction and kinship.

Shoutout to the local grocers, restaurants and shops that helped make this feast possible:

Truly Tasty
Union Foodmart 華聯
Heiwa Oriental Market
Xiaoyu Homestyle Noodle 小玉桂林米粉
OCO Mart
Tian Phat Asian Grocery

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