Concept of a Chosen Family

The concept of a chosen family certainly isn’t exclusive to the LGBTQ+ community, but they’re definitely more common. (A 2012 study showed that 55% of transgender youth faced housing issues, and 75% suffered depression due to an unsupportive family) When faced with rejection from a biological family, many people turn to a chosen family. A group of people not blood related, but whose support is no less real for it. I was no different.

When I was only just beginning the exploration of my gender identity, I could not reach out to my parents for support. You can never tell how someone will react when you tell them that you’re transgender, and at that time in my life losing my parents to rejection would’ve been too devastating to handle. I turned to friends for the support I needed. My friends were there to help through the crippling depression I was suffering from at the time, and they gently nudged me towards self acceptance. All my friends were instrumental in moulding me into the woman I am today. I can look at aspects of myself, and attribute each aspect to a certain friend who helped foster that particular part of me.

I have since come out as trans to my parents and was summarily rejected. Not quite outright disowned, but darn close. At this time in my life, though, that doesn’t really matter to me. It’s their loss, and I have my real family: The friends I’ve made along the way.

 

—Samantha Nystrom

 

 

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The One Project is a community of passionate creatives, advocates and caring friends or family members working to support each other and change the conversation around mental health issues like depression, anxiety and more with therapeutic photography.

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