Even under the best of circumstances, the holidays can be stressful. For some LGBTQ people, Christmas also means deciding whether to go home to a family who doesn’t fully embrace them.
This week, we’re re-posting a conversation we had around this time last year, with Dr. Stephanie Budge from UofL, who teaches workshops on coping with the holidays as an LGBTQ person.
She said while some families do overtly antagonistic things (like using the wrong pronoun for trans folks, yelling, or refusing to let their LGBTQ family member bring a partner to holiday functions), what she hears about the most is simply ignoring. A person might come out as queer to their family, only for the response to be silence, and an unwillingness to acknowledge their identity.
Dr. Budge gave us some coping strategies we can all use during moments of holiday stress and family conflict, how to take full advantage of your chosen family’s love when your family of origin doesn’t support you, and how to tell when things are so unhealthy or unsafe it might be better to skip going home altogether.
If you find yourself in crisis mode over the holidays (or any time!): Dr. Budge recommends The Trevor Project‘s hotline. Their marketing is youth-oriented, but they provide support for LGBTQ folks of any age. You can reach them any time at 1-866-488-7386. Stay safe this holiday season, fruitcakes, and we’ll see you in 2014!