Ryan O'Connell, Alexandra Grey, Jake Borelli
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Why We Need to Rethink the Concept of Queer "Chosen Family"

Radical Ideas: #40 Chosen Family

We’ll expand the definition of “chosen family.”

When we think of the quintessential chosen family, we usually have a certain picture in mind. Some very Lost Boys- or Breakfast Club-type ensemble of cool misfits, eating Chinese takeout together on Thanksgiving Day in a dirty one-bedroom apartment. And where that image is a queer paradise, there is no such thing as a “quintessential”
chosen family.

“That chosen family can be as small as finding one other person who really gets you,” says Kathy Tu and Tobin Low, hosts of the queer podcast Nancy. “Sometimes it can feel like, unless you have a whole crew of ride-or-die friends, you’re not doing it right. But maybe you’re in a situation where you are only able to find your way to one or two other folks who you feel really comfortable with — that absolutely counts as chosen family, too.”

That chosen family can be an emergency contact, a shoulder you’ve cried on, or in the words of Rihanna, somebody who texts you in a crisis. Whatever it is, according to Tu and Low, “finding chosen family starts with knowing that whatever it is you are feeling, there are other people out there who feel the same way and will love you for it.”

This is one of our 50 Radical Ideas, featured in Out's June/July 2019 issue celebrating Stonewall 50. The three covers feature the enduring legacy of activist Sylvia Riverathe complicated candidacy of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, and the triumphant star power of actress Mj Rodriguez. To read more, grab your own copy of the issue on Kindle, Nook, Zinio or (newly) Apple News+ today. Preview more of the issue here and click here to subscribe.

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