Family is

deep friendship, love without conditions, nurturing, trust

deep friendship

Together Even Better

by Bartosz Kolczykiewicz (he/his)

Warsaw, Poland


The importance of finding family.

The idea of a “chosen family” has been around for quite some time.

For most, it conjures images of people—not necessarily related by blood—of different backgrounds, cultures, ages, ethnicities, etc. who have committed themselves to each other in a way that can only be defined as family.

For the LGBTQIA+ community, the chosen family is particularly sacred. To be part of one means you’ve demonstrated a collaborative kinship that allows for feeling safe, respected, understood and cared for. But, above all, you bring each other joy.

The “family” is also more vital to the community than ever.

Despite years of advocacy and Pride, only 37 percent of youth identified home or school as an LGBTQIA+ affirming space (The Trevor Project: National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 2022). Additionally, family conflict around LGBTQIA+ identities is an important factor in youth homelessness and housing instability in the United States - where those identifying as LGBTQIA+ are overrepresented (The Trevor Project: Homelessness and Housing Instability Among LGBTQ Youth, 2020).

This is why—for Pride 2022—Converse is shining a rainbow on Found Family.

Akin to “chosen family,” the Found Family is a collective who connect through shared experiences and perspectives—regardless of background, culture, age, ethnicity, etc.—with the understanding they are on a shared journey to Pride, no matter where they are on that journey.

Coming to life through the creativity of Converse’s LGBTQIA+ community around the world, including creatives from the Converse All Stars community, Converse employees, and some of the LGBTQIA+ youth who have benefitted from the transformative work of our Social and Community Impact partners, Found Family is an expression of joy.

In this gallery experience, you will view unfiltered stories of the LGBTQIA+ community, spotlighting how their found families allow them to continue to break barriers and be their most authentic selves. The goal is to show individuals across the various intersections of the LGBTQIA+ community that they are seen, heard and that there are many individuals who are ready to embrace them as family on their journey to Pride.

  • Handwritten text reading found family
  • Handwritten text reading My Chosen Family
  • Handwritten text reading Found Family
  • Handwritten text reading My Found Family
  • Handwritten text reading Mi Familia
  • Handwritten text reading Found Family
  • Handwritten text reading found family
  • Handwritten text reading My Chosen Family
  • Handwritten text reading Found Family
  • Handwritten text reading My Found Family
  • Handwritten text reading Mi Familia
  • Handwritten text reading Found Family
  • Converse All Star, Elianel (he/him) is a photographer in New Jersey. He took his Found Family portrait with a group of girlfriends from middle school, Joy, Keana, Alexis and Amanda. “Each bond was formed differently, but the protectiveness I’ve felt since the first day I individually became friends with each of them is the same.” Photo credit: Elianel Clinton

  • Scotty Tsunami (he/him, far right) is photographed in LA, USA with Ricki, Hannah and Mika. Photo credit: Gabriel Lopez

  • Ilú (they/them, bottom row, middle) is photographed in Santiago, Chile with Amaia, Catalina and Micaela. Photo credit: Francesco Vittorino Lastra Bruna

  • Part I: For Nick (he/him) knowing you can be your authentic self at work is critical to success, both personally and professionally. “When I walk into Converse, I feel utterly confident in my role and work because I’m stepping into an environment and culture that embraces me, respects me, and elevates my voice,” he said. “There are many Converse teammates who have become part of my Found Family, and it happened because we’re encouraged every day to speak up and share our experiences and perspectives as members of the LGBTQIA+ community.” Photo credit: George Annan Jr.

  • Part II: Nick (he/him, top row, far left) - who works on the communications team is photographed alongside Jess (she/her, Marketing), Jason (he/him, Marketing), Elspeth (she/her, Product), Adam (he/him, Design), Chris (he/him, Operations) and Nick M (he/him, Global Partner Markets). These teammates and friends work together—along with many others—to bring to life the annual Pride collection, campaign, and giveback strategy. Photo credit: George Annan Jr.

  • Reegan (they/he, left) is photographed in Detroit, USA with their family, Tristan and Hadley. Photo credit: K Bodrock

  • Converse All Star, Becki (she/her, right) is a visual storyteller, photographer and disabilities advocate from Auckland, New Zealand. Becki and her found family Tash are passionate about accessibility, especially in music and queer spaces. Becki shares, “Tash has allowed me to feel comfortable in my sexual identity as well as my place in the world as a disabled person.” Photo credit: Becki Moss

  • Blue (he/him, top row, middle) is photographed in Athens, Greece with Xristos, Fragkiskos and Alexiane. Photo credit: Panagiota Karachaliou

  • Part I: Isis Dominique (she/her) describes her Found Family as “acquaintances who showed up and became the most important people in my life...I thought I was alone, but I wasn’t. I just hadn’t realized that my family was always there with me and rescued me every time I fell. So the road was difficult on this journey, but they held me and accompanied me and got on the same boat with me and it was amazing.” Photo credit: Luis Zamora Caroca

  • Part II: Isis Dominique (she/her, middle row, center) is photographed in Santiago, Chile with Romina, Benjamín, Selena and Viviana. Photo credit: Luis Zamora Caroca

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Internal Compass

by Samuel Luke Beatty (he/him)

Sydney, Australia


My found family gave me the support and affirmations I needed to keep going, and they were essentially added to my ‘internal compass’ to help guide me on my journey. They saw me as my true self, when I needed it most. Suddenly, I wasn’t alone anymore and the road ahead seemed to ease.

— Samuel

Family is love without conditions

Hello my friend. How are you?

I know that from where you're sitting now, feeling isolated and guilty, that that question feels like an empty sentiment. You feel like no one will accept you, your family will reject you and that you'll never reach a point when you're free to be yourself. I remember how it felt. At age 15 there was no point of looking forward, because there was just too much holding you back.

I'm 25 now.

And life is finally on track. I realized a few years ago that we get to a point where we have the power to choose our family. And we get to choose whether or not that includes our blood. It was the ultimate revolution to begin surrounding myself with people who show me real examples of “love without conditions” and accept that the value of our motley family is greater than or equal to a traditional family unit.

My found family are there through the good times and the bad. They hold me, scold me, offer their love and their advice – which I listen to always because they have no alterior motives outside of us all rising up together. Sometimes I don't see them for months but nothing ever changes. I'm not afraid they'll leave.

We grow together. Encourage change. They keep me in check. They teach you what it means to stick around. They will guide and you will guide them. And you will be embraced – no, celebrated for who you truly are.

Stay strong, but don't build your guard so high that the people who see you can't come in.

Dont Worry (So Much)

by Daya Czepanski (they/them)

Sydney, Australia


Richie Shazam (she/they, middle) is photographed in New York with Niki, Ben, Brianna and Cara. Photo credit: Sage East

  • “The joy is immense, the comfortability is immense and I genuinely would be so lost without them” says London-based, artist and fashion designer, Thomas (he/him, seated center) of his found family. Thomas is photographed by Kumbirai (also captured within the portrait) alongside, Jordan and Rhiann. Photo credit: Kumbirai Makumbe

  • When describing the feeling of being with found family, Auckland native Alli (he/they, seated bottom center) says “every time we are together, there’s so much pure joy for life”. Alli is featured alongside family members Dalje, Tasmin, Abigail and Hayley. Photo credit: Chris Antoni

  • NET GALA (he/they, top row, left) is photographed in Seoul, Korea with Jungle, Seesea and Kitty. Photo credit: Lindsay Ryklief

  • Part I: Leo (they/he, second from the left) is a member of BAGLY -a youth-led, adult-supported organization committed to social justice, and creating, sustaining and advocating for programs, policies and services for the LGBTQIA+ youth community. They are photographed in Boston, USA with their found family, including Carmel (he/they), B (she/they), J (they/them), Zarie (they/them) and Max (they/he). Photo credit: George Annan Jr.

  • Part II: Leo (they/he, bottom row, middle) shares that “representation looks like black trans joy and liberation and looks like black trans people looking in the mirror and feeling cute and seeing in their eyes that they love looks like our melanin popping through in those photographs.” Photo credit: George Annan Jr.

  • Rayven (she/her, bottom row) is a member of Skate Like A Girl’s Inclusivity Cooperative and is photographed in Boston, USA with her found family. Photo credit: Michelle Schapiro

  • Sasha (he/him, middle) is part of It Gets Better Project and is captured in Pasadena, USA with their found family. Photo credit: Carima Robinson

  • Jas (they/them, second from the left) is an artist and creative in LA. These images with their found family were captured by Ange (she/her), who is a 22 year old aspiring photographer and videographer from Hawaii that resides in Southern California. Photo Credit: Angelique Pineda

  • Part I: Izzy (she/they) describes her journey to finding family as “finding the right people, at the right time” and notes that she’s been “pretty insecure about my gender identity, basically since I came out to my parents I think in high school... Now that I’m older, I’ve been really lucky to have met a lot of amazing queer and trans people to help assure me that I’m not alone, you know?” Photo credit: Carima Robinson

  • Part II: Izzy (she/they, bottom row, center) was introduced to Converse via Skate Like A Girl’s Skateboarding Inclusivity Cooperative and is photographed in Carson, USA with their found family. Photo credit: Carima Robinson

Open Letter for my found family

We face lots of hurdle to overcome the ridicule, the struggle to fit in, the journey to discover oneself, and the mockery of society. We all have the right to take a breath and deal with it at our own pace. The importance of strength comes first within ourselves. Just have to believe that you can get through it. Maybe battle it out with joy and confidence, if you will.

It is absolutely necessary to be at peace amidst the chaos. If you ever find yourself in a place where you feel you are a fish out of water, remember these sage words, you are not alone. There's always people withing our reach as a community giving you support as much as we can. In fact, being different from what society deems normal doesn't mean you're less of a person… we are more!

These radical changes that spur from love are important to show the world their colorful side of humanity. Every LGBTQIA+ is home!

From the next generation, it's a big deal to be your authentic self. Don't forget that we're all proud of you, the world needs more love, like what we have for our community.

Love will prevail in the end!

Open Letter For My Found Family

by Cedric Ramos (he/him)

Manila, Phillipines


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Give Me My Reflection

by Jesse daCosta (she/her)

Melbourne, Australia


The goal of my illustration is to show how in these digital spaces we curate, our individual stories and identities all overlap, and the community formed is one that affirms and celebrates us.

— Jesse

Converse Skateboarder, Brianna “Dutchy” (she/her) says fellow team riders, Alexis, Zared and Dana really came through for her when she finally decided to come out as transgender last year. “I think found family is important to the community because for a lot of people, it’s their source of support.” Photo credit: Zach Baker

Family ispeople who love you as you are.

I am 21 now, and I have finally found my family. I have found comfort in people whose existence alone makes me happy. For me, a found family is people who love you as you are.

An excerpt of Surrounded by Light

by Reegan Saunders (he/they)

Detroit, United States


Claire (she/they) is the founder of the LonelyBones Skate Collective and was introduced to Converse via Skate Like A Girl's Inclusivity Cooperative. She is photographed in Boston, USA with their found family. Photo credit: Lauren O'Neil

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Dia delas (Day of Them)

by Amanda Lobos (she/her)

Sao Paolo, Brazil


It is a form of self care to choose to be surrounded by those who keep you safe and inspired.

— Amanda

Jordan Anderson (he/him, far left) created The Queer Black Italian Experience - a digital project aimed at exploring the realities of being Black and Queer in Italy. Originally from Jamaica, Jordan is photgraphed in Milan, Italy with Sasha, Lucas and Banji. Photo credit: Giuseppe Triscari

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  • You are valuable. You are creative. You are going places.

  • Found family means the people whose path on the journey to self-discovery I share and created a strong, special bond while helping and motivating eachother to experience personal growth.

  • This found family was very important and life-changing in the way they became my emotional support on my lowest moments and a big motivational push when I needed it the most in order to achieved my goals.

An excerpt of Dios perdona el pecado pero no el escándalo

by David Francisco Saldaña Najar (he/him)

Lima, Peru



by Sandra Espinoza (she/her)

Lima, Peru


I’ve found myself in my friends, in their words, in full uncertainty and with a broken heart. They became the support where I could meet me again and continue with each hand that was extended to me.

— Sandra

Soma (she/her) is photographed in Seoul, Korea with her partner, Joy. Photo credit: Yegi Hwang

Family is

To my younger self, I'll say this. You're to spend so much of your time trying to control your reality that being present is going to be a challenge. I'm sorry I let that happen to us but I'm here to tell you that the blessings coming your way are so beautiful and abundant. You will always have a friend, no matter where you go. I'm so proud of how strong you are, but it is okay to let go too. Don't work against your emotions. If you work with them, they'll guide you well.

From One Queer To Another

by Dev Nair (he/him/they/them)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia