Importance of Found Families in Queer Communities

 

To many people, family is one of the most important values. Family can, of course, still apply to LGBTQ+ people: just sometimes in a different way. Because of the extremely high rate that LGBTQ+ people are rejected from their biological family, they often have closer relationships with their friends or other members that may not be related to them by blood called “Found Family” or “Chosen Family.”

 

In my personal childhood, I didn’t know I was queer, but I knew I was different from my family. They instilled in me very intensely how important family is to them and all I could dream of was having family (meaning children) of my own one day and continue this “Perfect Nuclear Family” dream. I think, in a way, I can still make Little Kayla happy, just in a different way than I thought.

 

A large shared experience of being a part of the community is being shunned or shamed by your biological family. People tend to find acceptance and understanding among friends that they maintain close bonds with throughout their lives. I haven’t lived very long, but I’ve met several amazing people through high school and college. 

 

Queer people tend to have a stronger sense of that acceptance and inclusivity. It can be difficult to explain to those who aren’t queer other than queer people “just get it.” Learning about other people is great; once you learn that you can be accepted for being “different,” you (hopefully) begin learning how to accept people different from you. This doesn’t apply to every person in the community, but I personally always find ways to be kinder and more open to people’s experiences. For example, I’m not bisexual myself, but I will happily listen to all of my bisexual friends’ experiences and feelings and try to learn from them. 

 

With my own honesty and openness, I am able to “get it” in a certain way if I simply listen to them. I will never understand it in the same way but I’m willing to accept whatever they need to tell me. 

 

Having these sorts of exchanges brings all of us closer, especially if we have group conversations about our identities and experiences. This is so important for queer people to be able to speak about these topics in a group, where they can feel open and have the ability to just speak their minds. 

 

I feel as though I’ve found a lot of family at school, and I love them so much.