Why I Stopped Using the Term “Chosen Family”

The Transgender Therapist
7 min readDec 8, 2022

Family is family.

Photo by Simi Iluyomade on Unsplash

CW: References to bigotry, racism, sexism, queerphobia and xenophobia.

Having been estranged from the majority of my extended biological, blood related family, I have come to build my own version of family. This is by no accident, and generally the way I prefer to experience my life. The people that surrounded me when I began life do not resemble the family that I have now. For example, my aunt has stated that she will not see female doctors because they are not fit to practice medicine, demonstrating her own internalized misogyny. Her son has said it is acceptable to deny women important corporate and political leadership positions because they may become pregnant and step away from the role unexpectedly. My older sister has recently admitted to mocking an experience I had due to my mental illness behind my back for years, as an ongoing joke with her husband and children.

My father has claimed that the Confederacy was concerned with “states rights,” and that the white people who enslaved Black people in the United States couldn’t have treated them as poorly as history supposedly over exaggerates because they would not have been as effective at their (forced) labor. My paternal grandmother has said that gay people are damned, and my deceased paternal grandfather has said that all Muslims living in the Middle East should be summarily murdered via bombing for not being Christian. My cousin has said that if our ancestors who were alive during the time of chattel slavery decided to enslave people, that they would have treated them like family. Her mother has posted racist memes of Obama that blame him for perceived expanded rights for trans people (specifically, trans women in bathrooms). She did not seem to care that I am a transgender person.

The only blood relatives to which I bother to remain connected are my mother, brother, nephew (sister’s son), and one paternal aunt. I have considered reaching out to my paternal grandmother, but have not yet gathered the certainty I would need to do so. She texted me after my bigoted grandfather died, and despite her hateful words of the past, I’m inclined to give her another chance.

The Transgender Therapist

Queer, white trans man living in the Pacific Northwest with a grudge and a sharp tongue.