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Found Family

By Austin Horne, LGBTQ+ Outreach Specialist and Evelyn Chang, Advancement Intern

Oftentimes, perpetrators of domestic violence will target people who are solitary, or will isolate them from their friends and family. Many LGBTQ+ people also may not have a supportive family or community, leading to isolation and loneliness. A found family can act as a safe and encouraging support system for survivors and LGBTQ+ people.

What is a found family?

A found family is a group of people without any blood relation that supports and cares for someone the same way family members would. Cousins who aren’t your “cousins,” aunts who do not know your mom or even a whole family without any blood relation — these are all examples of found family that anyone can have. For some, a found family is an addition to their support system and existing family, but for many LGBTQ+ people, found family serves as a replacement. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community have tense relationships with their family, are not on speaking terms or many be permanently disconnected. A chosen or found family can form the core of an uplifting and caring community.

How do you find a family?

It can be challenging for people to rebuild their social circles after escaping a violent relationship or being rejected because of their identity. Attending social events is a great way to meet new people. For LGBTQ+ people, Guilford Green’s Out & About Calendar is a valuable resource for identifying different events and groups.

When trying to find a chosen family, each person should consider what communities will be safe and comfortable for them. For one person, their faith community may feel like home, while for another it might feel like an exclusionary space. Everybody’s social needs are different, and it is important to assess what is helpful and harmful.

Overcoming Barriers

While building a found family, there are often barriers and obstacles to overcome. Some people will need help recovering to feel safe in social situations, especially with people who remind them of their perpetrator. Others may require financial assistance to engage socially. Many of these barriers can be addressed through the counseling and other resources provided at Family Service of the Piedmont.

Want to learn more?

Family Service of the Piedmont provides resources and assistance for those who are building found families as survivors or members of the LGBTQ+ community. Email communityoutreach@fspcares.org for more information.