Thought for the Day by Katherine-Alice Grasham (All Hallows’)
Happy Pride Month!!
One of my favourite aspects of queer life is chosen family. Your chosen family are those people who fulfil that role of family as a support system, often when people have been rejected by their family of origin after coming out. Many live within both family systems – chosen family and family of origin.
Chosen families are incredible and a big part of queer life for many people. But they can also be deeply spiritual, and there are so many examples of chosen family in religious texts. Most religions speak about adoption, and looking after orphans, but many also speak about widows – taking in people who have lost their partners, and sometimes by extension, their wider families. A beautiful example of this is the story of Ruth and Naomi.
Ruth was Naomi’s daughter in law, but when both of their husbands died, there was no expectation for Ruth to stay with Naomi as part of her family. But Ruth was defiant – she said “where you go I will go, and where you stay, I will stay.” Ruth and Naomi chose each other as family even after their traditional familial bonds were gone.
Jewish people read this story at Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah. Sharing this story emphasises that people live a life of Torah when love and devotion are shown to everyone who is part of their chosen family, Jewish or otherwise.
Similarly, in queer chosen families, we see that strong love and devotion to each other, whether people share blood or not. We also see stories in scriptures of families of all shapes and sizes. The typical nuclear family is not the only religious model!