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Winter Season

Season’s Greetings 2020 495 401 cj

Season’s Greetings 2020

Season’s Greetings 2020

We are heading into a most unusual winter holiday season due to the worldwide pandemic. For many people, connecting with family and friends during the holidays is something to look forward to each December. But this year may bring the fear of exposing relatives to the coronavirus, so people may be re-thinking what this year’s holidays will look like. For some people in the LGBTQ+ community, this may come with a sigh of relief as holiday gatherings can be a source of stress for those who do not feel like they can be their authentic selves with their families due to fear of rejection or negative responses. This may be the year to start new holiday celebrations that feel right for you.  

A Different Kind of Holiday Season

Family celebrations will certainly look different this year. Health fears may keep family members apart causing feelings of loneliness. If possible, make an effort to connect with family members and even share meals via Zoom. LGBTQ+ young people may feel anxious about some of these connections for fear that grandparents and other relatives may not accept their authentic selves. It can be helpful to remember that personal questions about friendships and romantic relationships are often an attempt at connection and that family members may need time to acknowledge and accept that they have an LGBTQ+ family member. If a question is asked that feels invasive, you can answer with as little or as much information as you feel comfortable with, and then change the subjectThere 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. Here are some suggestions for including older relatives via zoom gatherings. 

For the Ally’s

If you are a supportive parent or ally, perhaps this season will bring about opportunities for you to highlight the importance of acceptance and affirming support for the LGBTQ+ 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.  

LGBTQ+ young adults may decide to spend this year’s holidays with their partner or a very small group of chosen family. Hanging out, cooking together, or watching favorite movies can all make for lovely, intimate celebrations. Just be aware that people may feel anxious about gathering in even small groups so try to be understanding if some friends choose to not attend in person. There are plenty of ways to have online get-togethers. Check out this site for fun ideas for virtual holiday party ideas  

Traditions Done Safely

Think about the traditions you love and plan for how they can be done safely. For example, if you love holiday decorations, then definitely go for a walk in your neighborhood and admire the lights. Just wear a mask and practice social distancing. If baking holiday treats is what makes you happy, by all means bake to your heart’s content. And maybe brighten up a neighbor’s day by delivering a batch of treats – just remember to use disposable gloves when making your delivery. Here are some fun, delicious recipes with a LGBTQ+ twist. 

Be The Change

And if at all possible, be the change that you want to see in the world. There are many LGBTQ+ organizations who can use your time and energy this season. Research shows that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+ and this time of year adds only more stress to a precarious living situation. Any extra blankets or outgrown clothes will be greatly appreciated by your local shelter. Giving back will definitely make this year feel more meaningful. 

And remember that all family members need down time and for self-care during the holidays. Leave plenty of time for reading books, listening to music, time for taking walks and exercise. 

Kaleidoscope wishes you the happiest of holidays and we wish you all the best in 2021! 

Kaleidoscope is always here for you and especially during the holidays. Our weekly virtual Pride Club for 12-17 year olds and weekly virtual Coffee Chat for 18-24 year olds are safe spaces to share your thoughts and feelings. For more information, please visit

Reflections, Resilience, & Resources 495 400 cj

Reflections, Resilience, & Resources

Reflections, Resilience, & Resources

Happy New Year!

While we’re engaged in a moment of reflection, let’s take a moment to reflect upon how far the LGBTQ+ community has come on the path to being accepted as equals and acknowledged for the beautiful diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression that are represented.   Let’s also take a moment to acknowledge the brave LGBTQ+ folks who came before us, paving the way for us to live more openly and equally.  While it’s true that we still have a long way to go to achieve equal rights and overcome anti-gay and anti-transgender bias, it’s also true that we have come a long way toward achieving that goal, as this reflection of the following historical event in Los Angeles will demonstrate.

You may have heard of the Stonewall Riots in New York 50 years ago.  It’s a lesser known fact that two years before that, Los Angeles experienced its own uprising from the LGBTQ+ community.   On New Year’s Eve in 1966, a sting operation by undercover police officers targeted patrons of gay bars by arresting same-sex people who kissed at midnight.  As it was illegal at the time to engage in homosexual acts, including giving a New Year’s kiss to a loved one, an estimated 14 people were arrested from the Black Cat Tavern in Silver Lake. They were charged with lewd conduct, and many of them were forced to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.  Back then, with  arrests like these, pictures and names were often published in newspapers and could lead to LGBTQ+ people being legally fired from their jobs, ostracized by their families, or even placed in mental institutions and subjected to shock therapy.

Following this event, though, many members of the LGBTQ+ community decided to take a brave stand against such biased atrocities.  More than two hundred people ultimately gathered outside of the Black Cat to peacefully protest the police raids, risking losing their jobs, families, and friends by potentially being photographed by the papers.  The community had begun to risk everything to achieve basic rights that so many of us now take for granted.

Today, many of us enjoy the right to live openly, including being able to kiss a loved one on New Year’s Eve, without the fear of being arrested or placed in a mental institution.  We’ve come a long way as a community.  Even so, we could also use some individual support and assistance connecting to peer groups.  Many LGBTQ+ people still live in fear of losing loved ones or even facing violence simply for expressing their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  Such fear often contributes to mental health symptoms like anxiety and depression, poor self-esteem, suicidality, and alcohol/substance misuse.

At Kaleidoscope, we understand these challenges and the associated impact on one’s mental and emotional health.  We  are here to help.  We offer an array of services, including individual therapy, group therapy, and individual coaching, as well as free social groups and events with peers and allies – all to help LGBTQ+ teens and young adults receive necessary support and improve their sense of well-being.  We also offer support for parents who are struggling with acceptance but want to become stronger allies for a LGBTQ+ loved one.   If you feel that you could benefit from any of these services, groups, or events, please reach out to us!

For more information about The Black Cat protest, we recommend reading this interview with Alexei Romanoff, the last surviving organizer of Personal Rights in Defense and Education (P.R.I.D.E.), one of the groups that helped stage the 1967 protest.

Graciously Giving our Authentic Selves 495 400 cj

Graciously Giving our Authentic Selves

Graciously Giving our Authentic Selves

The holidays are here!  For most people, this is a time of gathering with family and friends and joining in the spirit of giving.  At Kaleidoscope, we recognize that one of the most valuable gifts we can give to others is being our authentic selves.  Most people want to be honest about who they are with the people who they love.  This isn’t always easy for someone who is LGBTQ+, though.  In fact, sometimes it may even be unsafe.  Research shows that 40 percent of homeless youth in Los Angeles (and nationally) identify as LGBTQ+ and many of them are homeless due to family rejection.  It’s easy to understand why revealing this part of oneself can be so frightening when it so often leads to negative responses or even being ostracized.

Are you a LGBTQ+ teen who’s wondering how to handle questions from loved ones during a holiday gathering like “Do you have a boyfriend?” when that question might not accurately reflect your sexual orientation or gender identity?  Perhaps you’re someone who is a strong ally of a LGBTQ+ youth in your family and you’re wondering how to be supportive?  Kaleidoscope is here to help!  It helps to consider such things beforehand and to have a plan in place.

For LGBTQ+ teens:  Consider what you’re willing to share with loved ones and what you’d rather keep to yourself at this time.  You may not be ready to be out to everyone (or even anyone) in your family – and that’s okay!  If you would like to share part of your LGBTQ+ identity and feel safe to do so, then it’s still a good idea to have in mind how much you feel comfortable sharing – and who you feel best sharing that with.  When adults ask you personal questions, it’s just because they’re trying to connect with you.  It’s okay to just say no to a question and then change the subject to something you do want to talk about.  In this way, you can still connect more comfortably.  Also, it’s a good idea to tell a friend that you may need their support via text during your family visit.  Allow yourself small breaks if you need them.  Remind yourself that this moment will pass and that your family may become more understanding and supportive over time.

For supportive allies:  Consider ahead of time how you may support your LGBTQ+ loved one around other family members who may not be as supportive.  If you’re hosting the party, perhaps it would be a good idea to lay some ground rules with relatives about what topics would best be avoided at the family gathering.  (Only if it’s safe to make such a request – we wouldn’t want to out anyone in this way.)  Maybe you and your LGBTQ+ loved one could have a code word together that they could express to you when they need some supportive help?   It’s also a good idea to consider what family traditions your family engages in and see which ones may need to be adapted a little to help your LGBTQ+ loved one feel more included.  If that’s not easy to do, then maybe it’s time to introduce a new family tradition instead.

It would be wonderful if the holidays actually went as smoothly as we would like them to go.  Most everyone has good intentions.  Most everyone wants to connect lovingly with their families and friends and be able to authentically be themselves.  Who knows?  Some families may even be able to do so without a hitch!  If your family is one that doesn’t, though, we hope that these suggestions help LGBTQ+ youth and young adults as well as their allies during the holidays.  Remember the importance of also creating a chosen community family as well, for additional needed social support.  If you would like to connect with LGBTQ+ peers or with other strong allies, please check out our Events page and see what upcoming free group or event would help you do just that! Kaleidoscope wishes you and your family safe and happy holidays!