Even under the best of circumstances, the holidays can be stressful. For some queer folks, they also mean deciding whether to go home to a family who doesn’t fully embrace them.
This time of year, we like to listen back to a conversation we had with Dr. Stephanie Budge, who has taught workshops on coping with the challenges faced by LGTBQ folks during the holidays — specifically college students.
Some young people who have come out while away at school are no longer welcome at home. For some, going back home means going back in the closet.
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 being dismissive or ignoring the issue. 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 are experiencing a crisis, The Trevor Project can help. Call their lifeline at 1-866-488-7386 or visit the website for instructions on how to text them or chat online.