Holidays can be scary, especially for LGBTQ people who might not feel safe in the places they go or with the people they see. This guide has good advice on how to make the most of the holidays and stay safe. It also has information to help you make the holidays what you want them to be.
Care for yourself
With everything going on during the holidays, it's easy to forget what you need. Don't forget to take care of yourself and give yourself a break. Everyone's idea of self-care is different. It could be taking a bath, going for a walk, or drinking a cup of your favorite coffee. Make sure you take the time to think about what you need when you travel or go home for the holidays.
Talk about boundaries with family and friends
If you feel comfortable, talk to the people you will be visiting about what you can and can't do. Addressing potential stressors with family members and setting boundaries can help prevent stress. For example, if you have a relative who is known for making homophobic and racist comments, tell your family ahead of time what kinds of conversations will make you uncomfortable and what you will do about them (e.g. excuse yourself).
The holidays can be hard on your mind and heart, especially if you are in a strange or dangerous place. It's important to relax and think about feelings and interactions that happened over the holidays.
Think about setting up a phone call, lunch, or other time to talk about the holidays with a person who is there for you. These talks might be about how the holidays went, how you feel about them, or what people said or did. It can feel good to talk about your hard feelings with people who will listen. Think about setting up a time with the people you care about to talk about how they feel.
Keep a journal
You can write down your thoughts and ideas in a journal without having to try to explain them to other people. This can help if you are still hiding your sexuality or don't have people in your life who are supportive. It can also help you think about how you feel and what you're going through during the holidays.
Some ideas for writing:
Create an exit strategy
If you're worried about getting stuck when you go to a place where you do not have a support system, make a plan for how to get out. Consider making plans ahead of time to leave early or at a certain time, to sleep on friend’s couch or in a hotel. Be ready to leave without warning if someone treats you badly or if you start to feel uncomfortable.
Planning with Partners
If you are in a relationship and will be spending time with family as a couple, talk ahead of time about what will make you comfortable with sleeping arrangements, expressing affection, and navigating conversations before you get there.
Coming out at the holidays
If you want to tell your family about your sexuality or gender identity during the holidays, you should think about your personal boundaries, self-care needs, the availability of affirming social support, and a backup plan. Here are some more ideas:
Opt out if necessary
If you think going home for the holidays will drain you emotionally, make you feel like you don't belong, or hurt you, it's okay to say no. During the holidays, our friends, supporters, and loved ones can be our family. Surround yourself with people who respect you, help you feel strong, and affirm who you are. Look after yourself.
“LGBTQ Holiday Survival Guide.” Main Line Health, 4 Nov. 2022, www.mainlinehealth.org/blog/lgbtq-holiday-survival-guide. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.