Who Is in Your Chosen Family?

Please note: We are trying something new and linking to the vocabulary.com definitions for some of the words and phrases that might be unfamiliar to some students or need more clarity.

Vocabulary.com defines family as a “primary social group,” “parents and children” and “a social unit living together.” By these definitions, who is your family? Are there other people you consider “family” who may not fit these definitions? Who and why?

Have you ever heard the phrase “chosen family” to mean the close relationships and connections formed outside of a nuclear family? The Times is currently asking readers for stories about these chosen families. Here, Dani Blum introduces the idea:

In honor of Pride Month this June, The Times is collecting stories about chosen families in the L.G.B.T. community. The term comes from anthropological literature and refers to the intense, intimate relationships some L.G.B.T. people form apart from their biological relatives; it is the kinship you create outside of a traditional family structure.

Chosen families are defined by the strength of the connection people feel to each other, said Cole Milton, a doctoral candidate and researcher at Oklahoma State University. “It’s different from a group of acquaintances, or even really good friends. It’s something deeper,” he said.

Do you have a chosen family? We want to hear about them — who they are, how you found each other, and what these relationships mean to you now.

Students, read the entire piece, then tell us:

What is your response to the definition of “chosen family” given by Cole Milton in the article? Do you have people in your life whom you would describe as your “chosen family”?

Describe a close relationship with someone in your biological or chosen family. What kinds of things do you do with them? Why are they special to you?

In your experience, why can it be important or helpful to have close connections with people outside of your nuclear family?

Share a story about a time when you turned to someone outside of your nuclear family for advice or support.

If you identify as L.G.B.T.Q., you can submit your writing to The Times for a chance to be included in an upcoming feature and photo essay.

Want more writing prompts? You can find all of our questions in our Student Opinion column. Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate them into your classroom.

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.