While it is always very important to recognize and appreciate happiness during the holidays, we must also take some time to be mindful of the difficulties that come for many LGBTQ folks during this time of the year. Some folks coming home acknowledging their gender identity or sexuality for the first time to their families or friends may struggle with the coming out process and may face adversity. Consider these tips when needing support this holiday season:
1) Check in on loved ones and friends who are affirming of your identity. Folks who do not have affirming networks, or may be in recovery, or coping with mental health issues, need compassion and support. Surround yourself with folks you are comfortable being around, whether it’s through a phone call, text messages, and/or hangouts, online or in person. Checking in on your friends is a great way to make sure that you stay connected to yourself and your community.
2) Make a self-care plan. Make a list of what your triggers are and set personal boundaries before you visit your family or friends, as well as a list of ideas that calm you down. This list of ideas can include making a comfort box containing things that help you calm down, eating comfort food, getting sleep, putting off homework, crying, rescheduling plans, reading a good book, watching TV, or doing nothing at all. Feeling your feelings is healthy. Keep some positive affirmations on hand that you can turn to when you need a reminder that you’re doing the best you can if you’re struggling. This self-care list can also contain phone numbers and names of people that support you (make sure that our Lifeline, 866-488-7386, is on your list). We are here 24/7, even on the holidays, so you are never alone and will always be supported no matter where you are.
3) Practice talking about your identity to a friend before you visit your family. In the case you may want to start having a conversation with your family about your pronouns or sexuality, practice talking about how you want to be treated. Expressing that you have an affection for the same sex, other genders, or none at all, or that you want to be called by a certain pronoun can be very empowering, but it may not always be respected, so if you need to walk away from any toxic conversations regarding your identity, that’s okay. You can always call us if you need support during that time.
4) Remember that you deserve love and support. Whether you decide to step away from a holiday party because you are feeling overwhelmed, deciding to go to a friend’s house to be in a more supportive space, or if you are feeling suicidal, know that you are loved, you are worthy of compassion, and we are so thankful for you. You matter.
5) Keep a few resources at hand that you can turn to for support.
- The Trevor Project Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386 and website: thetrevorproject.org
- Rape Abuse and Incest National Network Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- National Eating Disorders Association Helpline: 1-800-931-2237
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
- Safe Horizon Helpline List (sexual assault, IPV, child abuse, homeless youth, stalking, human trafficking)
- National Shelter Directory
- GLBT Near Me
We love and accept all identities and during the holiday season, we’re here for you 24/7 at 866-488-7386. Find a supportive online community at TrevorSpace.org and helpful resources at thetrevorproject.org.