Holidays with Parents for GLBTQ
“The holidays can be a stressful time for GLBT people or families with GLBT members, but there are several strategies that you can use to help reduce stress and create a happy holiday this year.
If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender…
Don’t assume you know how somebody will react to news of your sexual orientation or gender identity — you may be surprised.
Realize that your family’s reaction to you may not be because you are GLBT. The hectic holiday pace may cause family members to act differently than they would under less stressful conditions.
Remember that “coming out” is a continuous process. You may have to “come out” many times.
Don’t wait for your family’s attitude to change to have a special holiday. Recognize that your parents need time to acknowledge and accept that they have a GLBT child. It took you time to come to terms with who you are; now it is your family’s turn.
Let your family’s judgments be theirs to work on, as long as they are kind to you.
If it is too difficult to be with your family, create your own holiday gathering with friends and loved ones.
If you are transgender, be gentle with your family’s pronoun “slips.” Let them know you know how difficult it is.
Before the visit…
Make a decision about being “out” to each family member before you visit.
If you are partnered, discuss in advance how you will talk about your relationship, or show affection with one another, if you plan to make the visit together.
If you bring your partner home, don’t wait until late into the holiday evening to raise the issue of sleeping arrangements. Make plans in advance.
Have alternate plans if the situation becomes difficult at home.
Find out about local GLBT resources.
During the visit…
Focus on common interests.
Reassure family members that you are still the same person they have always known.
If you are partnered, be sensitive to his or her needs as well as your own.
Be wary of the possible desire to shock your family.
Remember to affirm yourself.
Realize that you don’t need your family’s approval.
Connect with someone else who is GLBT—by phone or in person—who understands what you are going through and will affirm you along the way.
- Find tips for a happy holiday for allies and family members now!
- Some of these tips were adapted from Mariana Caplan’s book When Holidays Are Hell…A Guide to Surviving Family Gatherings. Learn more about her book now.” (http://community.pflag.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=278&srcid=268)
Tips for the Holidays as a PDF.
TNET- Support for Trans people
“Transgender people have been included in PFLAG’s support network for over a decade. Our Transgender Network (TNET) includes contacts and regional coordinators for all of our chapters around the country. Their primary mission has been to educate our members and allies about transgender issues – a subject foreign to many, including those parents and significant others surprised by the coming out of a loved one as transgender.
While transgender people have similar needs with regard to support in coming out, education and advocacy as do gay, lesbian and bisexual people, there are some basic differences that might require family and friends to step beyond their comfort levels. You can learn more about these differences here.
Before and during the process of transitioning, however, many difficulties can arise. Transgender people are often denied use of appropriate restroom facilities; they are usually denied participation in sports based on their correct gender. They experience discrimination with regard to employment and housing. And they are too often subjected to cruel harassment and violence at the hands of others.” (http://community.pflag.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=266&srcid=380)
I happened to stumble upon this when I was searching for PFLAG. It is a website sponsored by the AIDS critical path project started by Kiyoshi Kiromiya (if you don’t know who this man is, look him up, he is a truly amazing human being). This site provides webpages and lists to begin dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Here is a brief description:
You have reached the home page of the PFLAG-Talk Internet mailing list.
[To subscribe, follow the links on its name in the last sentence.]The purpose of these lists is to promote the health and well-being of gay, lesbian and bisexual and transgendered persons, their families and friends through:
support, to cope with an adverse society,
education, to enlighten an ill-informed public, and
advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights.
Our lists and webpages provide opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity. On and off the net, PFLAG acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.
Please note, the pflag-talk and tgs-pflag email list, website, and resources found here are collected independently. It is neither managed nor monitored by National PFLAG, although some members of the National Staff, Board, or Regional Directors do participate in the list.
Contact the webmaster, John Lindner, with questions, comments, or suggestions.
Revised February 25, 2007″
The PFLAG websites will probably provide more information than I could. I have never experienced a PFLAG meeting so I don’t have the experiences with the members, their programs, events, or attitudes. I have an inclination that these meetings are very helpful and supportive, which is why I have offered information about them on my site. I hope this is helpful and lends hope to all people who need it.