January 31, 2023 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Surviving a Hostile Family Holiday Dinner When You Identify as LGBTQ+

The upcoming holiday season evokes a wide range of emotional friction for the LGBTQ+ community. The Human Rights Campaign frequently receives inquiries in regards to handling uncomfortable situations with family members at holiday events, including class of religion, discussing sexual orientation and coming out.

We cannot always change the minds of those around us, but HRC gives some pointers online on navigating the “minefields” LGBTQ+ folks face at family gatherings. Check it out:   

• To prepare for questions regarding LGBTQ people and scriptural teachings, check out HRC’s “Coming Home” series of guides focusing on Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism, Islam and general Christianity. These guides will help you craft answers to some of the more common questions, and might inspire you to start a conversation about moving toward a more accepting theology. Also take a look at HRC’s “A la Familia” conversation guide.

• Avoid conversations in which scripture about a vengeful God are cited. Religion and faith are much more than scriptures. Remind people that God lives in all of us and loves each and every one of their creations. You may want to share our newest publication, Just As They Are, a resource to help parents recognize when and how conversion therapy is promoted, provides information about the dangers of the practice, and offers guidance to parents regarding practices that promote their child’s health and well-being.

• If you are anxious about potential confrontations with family members, make a plan to stay safe. If you are traveling to visit family and can afford it, stay in a hotel, or with friends so you have a refuge if needed.

• If you are not out to family and friends, HRC’s “Coming Out” resources provide valuable information, including how to make a decision that factors in your safety.

• Remember, you don’t have to spend the entire week or weekend with your family. Sometimes a shorter visit is best for all. It’s okay if you choose to spend time with your family of choice where you know you can feel accepted and affirmed for who you are.

Please remember that you are loved and your community is here to support you. If you need other resources do not hesitate to call The Trevor Project’s hotline at (866) 488-7386. You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255 or the Trans Lifeline at (877) 565-8860.

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