Commonly known also as “found family”, a group of people with no blood-relations getting together, loving, and supporting each other through thick and thin; that’s what Chosen Family means to so many people.
Why Chosen Families Are Important
There’s a well-known saying that “You don’t choose your family” and it’s true. You do not choose who you are related to by blood, no matter how much you may differ personality-wise. If you’re really lucky then you are born into a loving and accepting family that supports you and your dreams. Though a family is supposed to love you for who you are, that is unfortunately not always the case. Sometimes being related by blood to someone does not mean that they have your best interest at hart necessarily, nor does it mean that they will understand your experiences and point-of-views. This is also one of the key reasons why chosen families exist.
People who need social or emotional support typically tend to seek out a group of people whom they can trust and rely upon. Newer generations especially are more lenient with how they defy “family” as opposed to older prior generations with more traditional connotations. A family of choice can be exactly what a person might need to finally feel that acceptance and freedom to express their identity in multiple ways.
Communities Come Together
It’s most usual for people who are already discriminated or cut-off by the rest of society to come together in some sort of way. They typically support each other in ways that their biological families just do not. The definition of family has changed over time a lot and especially most recently the definitions have gotten a lot looser. Any group of people coming together on the basis of love can be a family and it does not have to include marriage or biological parents.
Chosen Families are usually made up from members of the LGBTQ+ community. As is unfortunately often common, a lot of queer people may be kicked-out of their homes from their own biological parents once they come out, or they may make a decision of their own to run away for safety reasons. Therefore, it is fairly common for queer people to come together, live and share experiences in a safe place. Although, it can happen that some queer people live within a biological and a chosen family at the same time if they’re lucky.
There is a sense of emotional connection that people who have found each other as a result of social expulsion. Shared trauma is also something that tends to connect people a lot, and the LGBTQ+ community can, due to social norms, experience a lot of trauma as a result of being queer. Queer people living in shared spaces is very common, they can experience a kind of freedom that living with biological families simply does not offer.
It’s often not about traditional family roles meaning there’s not necessarily a mother or father type of “character” but more of closeness in age-range and location-wise. It’s not just about a group of friends living together, it’s about more of a special bond that people with either similar traumatic experiences, Even when there are older people involved, they do not act as parents or anything of sorts, there’s more of equal footing sense going on.
Rina Sawayama’s song ‘Chosen Family’ perfectly describes the feeling of emotional release that people can feel once they’ve found that group of people to find comfort in. “We don’t need to be related to relate” perfectly encapsulates the feeling of comfort with people outside your biological relations.
It’s also good to remember that the concept of found family is not strictly for one community or another. People of color used to be constantly violently separated from their families and thus a lot of families of choice were created as a result.
Really any few people who are ostracized from society can come together and uphold each other in ways that they are missing from their personal lives. It’s about taking care of each other in difficult times, being there for each other in good times, and just being a presence for each other at all times.
Find people with similar interests and common experiences if you are looking for that emotional support group who you can call your own chosen family.
Picture: Shutterstock / ID: 691180921
Read more about how you can support the people closest to you.
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