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How to Cope: Going Home for the Holidays as a Queer Person 

Robyn Exton

Nov 26, 2021

How to Cope: Going Home for the Holidays as a Queer Person 

It’s difficult enough to spend extended periods of time with people we don’t necessarily agree with or like. When you add in the stress of the holidays, LGBTQ+ people need to be doubly prepared to handle any situation when they’re at home for the holidays.

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How to Navigate Family Time if You’re LGBTQ+

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know how well your friends or family will embrace your gender identity or sexual orientation. Some people may be surprisingly supportive, while others may be less so.

Coming out is a journey of understanding, acknowledging, and sharing your true self with others. It will be quick and straightforward for some, but it will be longer and more challenging for others. Some of your family members will also have a journey of their own, although different from yours.

Tips for Spending Time with Homophobic People

During the holiday season, you’ll be around a lot of people, and their views may differ from yours. Take a deep breath and remember that your friends and family may need time to understand and embrace your identity, sexual orientation, or both. However, nobody should have to deal with homophobic remarks, superior attitudes, or hostility, whether they are your family or not.

Often ignorance is the driving factor behind rejection. You don’t need to have all the answers, and educating people is helpful. Remember that not everyone will understand everything at first, and there may be a period of adjustment. There’s nothing wrong with telling your loved ones that you know they may not accept or even agree with you right now, but you still need their love and support.

Connect with Your Open-Minded Family Members First

These are your people—your allies. Know and trust that they are on your side. It’s perfectly acceptable to reach out to them ahead of time to let them know you’re nervous about the upcoming visit. 

Allies can be a tremendous source of comfort even if you’ve come out and not everyone knows yet. Your open-minded family members are your chosen people, the ones you invited to be a part of your journey. That says a lot about the connection you share. Trust works both ways and to know that someone is in your corner makes all the difference.

Remain Calm

There’s an old saying that no one can steal your happiness. And what about the rhyme with sticks and stones? 

However, when we break it down—words do hurt, and people can ruin our wonderful day. We are deeply sorry if you are experiencing difficulties during this special time of year.

But you’re going to let no one steal your joy. Or your composure. Not. A. Single. One. And if you have to remove yourself from the room or the location, you should do so.

Remember You’re Not Alone

Millions of people are avoiding the holidays, not enjoying them as much as they would like, or masking their actual selves to please others. This isn’t even close to being ideal. 

Even when you feel alone, you’re not completely alone—at HER, you have an entire community of people who support you while going through the same things you are (even the holiday stress).

Stand Up for Yourself

It’s safe to assume that a difficult talk will take place. It’s essential to speak up for yourself for your health and well-being. 

It would be best if you did what’s comfortable for you. Consider never excluding yourself from events or gatherings. You may have to navigate differently and understand that some people need time to adjust. 

Regardless of the circumstances, this is a tough pill to swallow but a necessary one. You deserve to enjoy life as your authentic self.

Dealing with Non-Acceptance and Rejection

Friends and family must understand that no amount of rejection can change who you are or what you are feeling. It’s not their job to reject you but to accept and love you without strings attached. 

People may, unfortunately, fall out of your life, even if temporarily. It’s okay to say, “It’s unfortunate we can’t see eye to eye, but it’s not going to stop me from living my true identity.”

Recognize Harassment

Disagreement is one thing. Harassment is another. If someone degrades you or does something that is soul-sucking, recognize that this is not acceptable behavior. Also, know that you’re not putting up with it. 

Just because someone may not agree with you doesn’t give them a reason to disrespect you. Snide and hateful remarks and jokes are harassment. Now is the time to lean on your allies. Harassment of any kind should never be tolerated. If you don’t feel comfortable managing the situation on your own, seek the support of those trusted friends and family members at those holiday gatherings.

Moving Forward

The holidays are a time for family and friends to get together. Coming together with people who make you feel inferior is not one of them. Keep in mind that some people have a strong desire to make others feel small so that they can feel big. You have nothing to do with their views. You’ve chosen to live truthfully, which is something that not everyone can say.

In a perfect world, nobody would have to be in the closet. Also, no one would pass judgment on another. Never sacrifice your joy, mental health, and special events because of homophobic people. Choose the people in your life carefully. They instill a sense of worth, acceptance, safety, and unconditional love in you. These are the people who stand with you. 

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

– Dr. Seuss

All of this to say, it may also just take some time.

Find Your Inner Circle with HER

The holidays are stressful. We’re here to support you now and every day throughout the year.

If you want to meet more people like you, download the HER app.HER is a safe space to meet new people, develop relationships, and join like-minded communities.

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Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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