Family of Choice

Letters from a Lesbian

Dear World, 

I apologize for my absence last month. We had a family member that was very sick and was in and out of the hospital with pneumonia. It was a very strenuous and stressful time, to say the least. It’s times like this that really remind us of the importance of family.

Our culture focuses heavily on family. Family is important – the most important thing. Our worlds revolve around our families. For some of us, though, that is no longer true.

For many Hispanic LGBTs, we have been separated from our families because of our identities. That which was always so important now leaves a giant void in our hearts.

It’s important for us to remember that family isn’t just blood relations. Family can come to embrace a much bigger spectrum.

Have you ever heard of the term, “family of choice?” If not, let me take this opportunity to talk to you about it.

Family of choice refers to the people we have let into our lives. Our closest friends and confidants. The relationships that we have built that are so strong and so deep. The connections we have that are so much bigger than the word friends or friendship.

How many of us have people in our lives who hold special places in our hearts? Those people who love and understand us far beyond words. People who can raise our spirits just by hearing their voice on the phone. We all have that. Whether it’s one person or one hundred, it’s not the quantity that matters, it’s the quality.

When we are in times of crisis or times of loneliness, it’s good to know that we always have those people there. That, if we are estranged from our family, our family of choice will always be there for us. Family is important, there is no disputing that. Family of choice is no less a family or no less important than our blood relations. As long as there is a family (of any kind) around us, we are blessed. 

Live life in your own special way,


About the author: Lauren Shiro is Puerto Rican; her father was born in Mayagüez. She was born and raised in a suburb just outside of Queens, NY. As a Hispanic, she has been surrounded by a very unique and diverse culture. As a lesbian, Lauren has a unique viewpoint on humanity and the current political climate. As a woman who is both, she feels that she has a perspective that is beneficial to both cultures.

All of her writing work, both fiction and non-fiction, is done with a hope of breaking down barriers (social and racial), defying stereotypes and creating awareness and understanding between all people. Lauren has that same goal here for this column. Her goal is to address topics that are important to the LGBT community as a people. She wants to discuss politics that will affect us, both positively and negatively. She wants to have an open forum where we can share triumphs and support each other in setbacks.

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