Chosen Family Day 2023: Celebrating the Importance of Community and Connection

Queer couple playing at the beach

Each year, Chosen Family Day aims to represent trans*, queer, and disabled families formed by choice to provide interpersonal and community support that cultivates a strong sense of belonging among individuals marginalized by gender, sexual orientation, and ableism. The appeal of having a chosen family extends beyond sharing our lives with the people and pets with whom we’ve come to know and love. Chosen family is often the circle of care that offers each of us a better way through hard times and a salve for deep care. It can mean the difference between life and death for some of us.

On Monday, February 2o, 2023, the Vancouver Pride Society, VMF Winter Arts Hub, and other local Canadian organizers will extricate the annual Family Day holiday as Chosen Family Day. Unlike Family Day’s focus on the traditional cis, het, and able-bodied families with children, Chosen Family Day is a special observance of meaningful relationships formed, felt, and shared among our trans*, nonbinary, queer, and crip communities.

This day will mark the fourth year since Chosen Family Day was created in response to Canada’s Family Day, which is observed annually on the third Monday of February. Chosen Family Day was launched by Friends of Ruby, a GTA-based organization dedicated to the progressive well-being of LGBTQ2+ youth through mental health services, social support, and housing. They first launched Chosen Family Day on February 22, 2020, in support of LGBTQ2+ youth. Four years later, the observance of Chosen Family Day has caught on and spread throughout Canada.

Having the support of peers around you is critical, and it is a necessary ingredient to healing attachment wounds, past harms, and grieving the unfairness of it all. As trans* and queer adults who might’ve been pushed out by your family, their former careers, or your past relationships, you know how important it is to feel a sense of belonging and a connection to good people you can trust.  Your chosen family are those who make you feel braver, more comfortable, and more prepared to take good care of yourself.

Whether you want to stay in with your besties and watch movies all day or venture out into the wet, wild world with your dog by your side to meander down a creekside path, this is your day to celebrate your choice to belong in just the way you want. If partying is your jam, VMF Winter Arts Hub will host a free event to celebrate Chosen Family Day, featuring Vancity’s Black Drag Haus, Drag Storytime with Karmella Barr and Batty B. Banks, and DJ sets by Softie Shan and Vixen Von Flex. Stay for the Drag Shows featuring Acacia Grey, Levi Thrust, Karmella Barr, Batty B Banks, and Mx Bukuru.

Take time to celebrate with those who’ve got your back today. From my family to yours, Happy Chosen Family Day.

Disclaimer: As a registered clinical counsellor and registered psychotherapist (qualifying), I'm sharing insights on my blog for informational purposes, not professional advice or treatment. My writing aims to inspire you to consult your own healthcare or mental health provider. Remember, your decisions based on the blog content are solely your responsibility. Please explore other resources if this understanding doesn't align with your expectations. Thank you.

Clayre is a trans, queer, and visually impaired psychotherapist with a busy online therapy practice. Based on the West Coast of Canada, she is a Registered Clinical Counsellor in BC (18118), a Counselling Therapist in AB (2035), a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) in ON (13869), and a Canadian Certified Counsellor (10006504). When she isn't in session, she's reading, teaching, writing, or forest bathing. Work with Clayre: get in touch or book online.

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