Holiday Traditions That Feel Right For You
The holiday season certainly looks different this year as compared to last year. Although we are still dealing with the effects of a worldwide pandemic, there is a true sense of hopefulness. For many people, this year’s holidays will be a chance to connect with family and friends that they may not have seen for a long time. But for some folks in the LGBTQIA+ community, holiday gatherings remain a source of stress as there can be feelings of not being free to be one’s authentic self for fear of rejection or a negative response. But every year brings a new opportunity to start new holiday traditions that feel right for you.
There may be feelings of apprehension about seeing family members for the first time in a long time. LGBTQIA+ young people may feel anxious about connecting with grandparents or other relatives for fear of not being accepted. It can be helpful to remember that personal questions about friendships and romantic relationships are often an attempt to connect and family members may need time to acknowledge and accept an LGBTQIA+ family member. If a question is asked that feels invasive, a response can have as little or as much information as is comfortable. There may be unintentional incorrect use of pronouns with transgender family members. A gentle but firm correction along with a reminder that it is hurtful to be misgendered may be the remedy.
If you are a supportive parent or ally, perhaps this is the year to bring opportunities to highlight the importance of acceptance and affirming support to the LGBTQIA+ people in your life. And if the holidays go well with family members, be sure to follow up post-holiday to see if there are any questions and to say thank you for the love and support.
LGBTQIA+ young people may decide to spend the holidays with their partners or a small group of chosen family. Hanging out, cooking together, or watching favorite movies can all make for lovely, memorable celebrations.
And if at all possible, be the change that you want to see in the world. There are many LGBTQIA+ organizations that can use your time and energy. Research shows that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQIA+ and this time of year only adds more stress to an already precarious living situation. And extra blankets or outgrown clothes will be greatly appreciated by your local shelter. Giving back will definitely make the holiday season more meaningful.
And remember, all family members need down time for self-care during the holidays. Leave lots of time on your holiday calendar for taking walks, exercise, listening to music, and reading.
All of us at Kaleidoscope wish you the happiest of holidays and we wish you all the best in 2022!