Tips for a Happy Holiday for GLBT People
The holidays can be a stressful time for LGBT people or families with LGBT members, but there are several strategies that you can use to help reduce stress and create a happy holiday this year.
If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender...
- Don’t assume you know how somebody will react to news of your sexual orientation or gender identity — you may be surprised.
- Realize that your family’s reaction to you may not be because you are LGBT. The hectic holiday pace may cause family members to act differently than they would under less stressful conditions.
- Remember that “coming out” is a continuous process. You may have to “come out” many times.
- Don’t wait for your family’s attitude to change to have a special holiday. Recognize that your parents need time to acknowledge and accept that they have a LGBT child. It took you time to come to terms with who you are; now it is your family’s turn.
- Let your family’s judgments be theirs to work on, as long as they are kind to you.
If it is too difficult to be with your family, create your own holiday gathering with friends and loved ones.
Before the visit...
- Make a decision about being “out” to each family member before you visit.
- If you bring your partner home, don’t wait until late into the holiday evening to raise the issue of sleeping arrangements. Make plans in advance.
- Have alternate plans if the situation becomes difficult at home.
- Find out about local LGBT resources.
- If you do plan to “come out” to your family over the holidays, have support available, including PFLAG publications.
During the visit...
Focus on common interests.
Reassure family members that you are still the same person they have always known.
If you are partnered, be sensitive to his or her needs as well as your own.
Be wary of the possible desire to shock your family.
Remember to affirm yourself.
Realize that you don’t need your family’s approval.
Connect with someone else who is LGBT—by phone or in person—who understands what you are going through and will affirm you along the way.