What family means to… @jamie_windust


With restrictions lifting, many people are getting the chance to reunite with their loved ones again. This July, we’ve been contemplating the different meanings of family and how it varies from person to person. No family looks the same, and we think that’s something to celebrate. We caught up with some of our favourite local cultural figures and asked them what family means to them.

First up, is Jamie Windust. Jamie is an award-winning author, presenter, and model. As a prominent non-binary activist, Jamie contributes frequently to discussions around gender identity, helping to shed light on the experiences of others like them. In 2020, Jamie published their first book, In Their Shoes, which was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2021. Here’s what Jamie had to say about what family means to them.

How do you define your family?

For me family is something that is a state of mind and an energy, rather than a blood line or something pre-determined. Some of the best people in my life who I would call family are not blood related, but provide me with growth, kindness and the opportunity to feel whole everyday.

What makes a family?

Trust and honesty make a family. Like all relationships, having a foundation of honesty, kindness, truth and openness is integral. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy, but you know when you have your family around you (blood or otherwise) when you can be all of those things comfortably, When you can know their needs whilst still making sure your needs are met.

Tell us a memory you have about your family that makes you feel good.

I definitely am grateful to my blood family for learning publicly with me. I am grateful for their ability to be there in moments where I need their support, but also for moments of celebration. It was really full circle and lovely to have my family at Graduation in 2018 and to essentially have them see me off into the real world, it was really gorgeous.

How did your family help get you through tough times?

Often my family know more about me than even I know. Almost like the tide, they can sense when I am not being honest and for me and for so many, 2020 was a year of strife and pain and I am eternally grateful that both relative and chosen family were there for me as I experienced an incredibly turbulent year. Just by listening, and lending an ear, and letting me know that despite distance, we weren’t alone.

When was the last time you managed to get away with your family?

I really miss family holidays, and we have a family holiday booked for next spring and it’s going to be so interesting to get back into that dynamic now me and my siblings are adults. We went for an explore of my home town in London in July and it was so nice to just explore parts of my own town I never knew existed whilst being able to reconnect with family I’ve not seen in months.


Follow Jamie on Instagram @jamie_windust.

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