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Alternative Thanksgiving Dinner For Trans, Queer Community Honors ‘Chosen Families’

Nightshade Pittsburgh
Members of Nightshade Pittsburgh advertise the "Trans Chosen Family Feast."

Transgender and queer organizers in Pittsburgh are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for those who may be unwelcome at home.

"Trans Chosen Family Feast" is hosted by Nightshade Pittsburgh, a collective that focuses on gender politics and trans-liberation. Organizer Philippa Zang said Thanksgiving can highlight a significant personal challenge for some queer individuals.

“It’s really often that we have especially trans and queer youth who are not welcome at home or who have to present themselves completely differently or cannot come out to their families,” Zang said. “So the holiday season in particular can be a really hard time.”

As opposed to a biological family gathering, Nightshade Pittsburgh’s event is for friends and supporters, or “chosen families” which Zang said are crucial for trans and queer individuals.

The event will mimic a harvest feast, but it does not celebrate the colonial legacy of Thanksgiving, and the violence, genocide, and enslavement of Native Americans by white settlers, says Zang. Zang said there will be an active conversation about “what anti-colonial resistance can look like in the present day setting in Pittsburgh.”

The organization is expecting dozens of people to attend.

The dinner will be held on Dec. 1 at Repair the World in East Liberty, and will include a meal, a free store of gender-affirming clothing, resource tables, and crafting.