The holidays can be difficult for queer folks for all the obvious reasons. The last few years, as the United States has become perhaps more overtly divided, navigating family members with differing views can be exhausting. This sucks for a couple reasons. One, none of us want to do something exhausting during our few days off during the coldest darkest time of the year. Two, none of us want to be in environment in which political conversations feel increasingly like personal attacks on our core identities and rights. Yikes. A third thing that sucks- this may mean we don’t want to see our bio families, or it may mean we want to see them and that can be an emotionally painful experience for part of that time. I am here to say that your feelings of anxiety, stress, hurt, frustration, or perhaps most difficult of all…disappointment in your family…are valid.
What can we do? 1) We can acknowledge how we feel, instead of trying to deny it and gaslighting ourselves into thinking we are just being too much. 2) We can have realistic expectations for family gatherings, or lack thereof, and thus prepare appropriately. Preparing may look like not staying in the same house as your bio family or limiting the amount of time you spend with them or practicing assertive communication. Preparing may look like arranging something fun to do that does not involve seeing family or starting your own traditions. 3) We can list and remind ourselves of our coping strategies and increase our time spent doing the things that help us feel calm or peaceful or distracted 4) We can agree to allow ourselves to experience whatever emotions arise in the healthiest way we know how.
Regardless of how we spend the holidays, remember we are worthy of feeling accepted and safe.