While Thanksgiving is an incredible way to connect families around a shared meal, it can also be a means of stress, especially if you are queer and have not yet come out to your family (or extended family, friends at home, etc). It feels like you’re stepping back into the closet and closing the door.
Though I am not out to most of my family, I am deeply privileged for having an incredible mother who supports me. I recognize that this is not the case for every queer individual.
Here are some tips for passing the potatoes without feeling threatened to spill the beans.
- If you have an ally, use this person. Tell them you’re feeling uncomfortable and they can be a means of support to redirect awkward conversations about who you’re dating, your gender, etc.
- Reroute a conversation. Remind your aunt about how great her apple pie is. Ask your uncle about how his new job is going.
- Don’t be afraid to stop a conversation directly. If possible say that a question or a comment was hurtful or uncalled for.
- Keep your cool. Breathe deep. Know your limits. Excuse yourself for a moment in the restroom to collect yourself when it feels safe to do so.
This is not an exhaustive list and I know I cannot speak to all manners of experience.
Your health, mental and physical is a top priority. Happy Thanksgiving.