5 Queer People on How They Found Their Chosen Families

Whether online or IRL, here’s how five LGBTQ+ people found their community.

Article by: Angela Watercutter & Samantha Cooper

Reposted by: Jessica Paul

It’s a fairly common tale in the LGBTQ+ community: Queer people move away from home and build new families of their own. They go to cities, find friends and partners, and form a network. Since many queer individuals are rejected (or just simply tolerated) by their families of origin, this new support network is a place where they can shine and be their authentic selves. Anyone who has ever seen an episode of Pose knows this.

Yet, with the spread of social media, messages boards, and apps, the ways in which LGBTQ+ folks find each other has changed dramatically. Some still find their chosen family IRL, but others do it by popping up in someone’s DMs.

To mark the conclusion of Pride month—and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion (earlier this year)— WIRED asked five queer individuals how they found their communities. This is what they had to say.

Justin J. Wee


 Justin J. Wee is a proudly queer, Australian-Malaysian photographer now based in Brooklyn. His editorial clients include Out, Anxy, and Broadly, and most recently Wee photographed Polaroid Eyewear’s 2019 Pride campaign. He is also a community chef for artist collective Nomadique and Communion, a not-for-profit queer-only dinner he cofounded with two friends.

How I Found My Chosen Family: 

My chosen family was gathered in ways that are extremely ordinary; maybe we met on the internet, or community dinners, or through photo work. But it’s the feeling of finding them that I remember the most.

In trying to articulate that, I can’t help but think of that scene from Crazy Rich Asians where Constance Wu is sitting in the pews of that absurd but beautiful water lily wedding, and she glances over at Henry Golding standing next to the groom, and he smiles at her with misty eyes and mouths, “I love you.” Her eyes brim, she smiles, and mouths the same back. It’s cinematic, and is a moment laid thick with emotion. So much is contained in the gazes they gave one another. A gaze of unconditional love, of unwavering support, and revelry in the fact that this wedding was completely bonkers. In my head, these gazes are the ways in which I collected my chosen family. We’d see each other from across the bar, or the table, or the internet, and our eyes would lock and something in our bodies cosmically told each other that there was something meaningful to be unearthed here.

Jazzmyne Robbins


Jazzmyne Robbins is a video producer and talent for BuzzFeed’s Beauty Channel As/Is, which focuses on style, beauty, and fashion content. Robbins’ content specifically focuses on body positivity and provides a voice for people who may feel just a little bit different. She seeks to empower people to be their best selves.

How I Found My Chosen Family: 

Finding my online family is something that I did not know I needed until I had it. For me, I was very used to taking things on my own. 

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