Being home or with family for the holidays can be stressful for anyone. The constant noise, tension between different family members, etcetera can put strain on even the most neurotypical of well adjusted people. However, as both a sufferer of mental illness and a tried-and-true trans man, I find that people such as myself can have an even more difficult time adjusting to the holidays. From my experience and anecdotes to your holiday-of-choice, I’d like to share how I get by being ho ho homosexual this Christmas Eve.
Now, I do happen to celebrate Christmas (despite myself and my nuclear family lacking religious ties), so it is possible that some of these tips may not be feasible for you personally. Take this with a grain of salt and know that your honorary big brother (that’s me) will take questions.
While I was in the closet for the holidays, it was difficult for me to cope with very cishet normative language, however, I found it useful to pretend as though I was undercover. I sought gossip about other family members under the guise of me being a straight little girl, and had the time of my life. However, this certainly isn’t for everyone. It can be hard to ‘trick your brain,’ and thus I also recommend getting a lot of space from whoever is nosiest.
Gifts can also be tricky, particularly for someone who is trans and/or in the figurative closet. Allies, take note, getting your friend gender-affirming (and STYLISH) clothes can be a potential life saver, and I’m sure they will be grateful. When asking from family members, if they are uncomfortable getting you the former, I find it better to ask for gifts that are both useful and non-gendered. For example, I’ve been asking for ice skates for years (fingers crossed for this year), which don’t have a readily applied gender and allow me to enjoy something that I love doing to the fullest. Asking for donations to different charities is another good idea, one of my relatives consistently gets animals in my name from Heifer International, which is an awesome organization. Donating to LGBT charities can serve as both a unique gift and a not-so-subtle hint to your family.
All in all, the holiday season may be stressful, but it is intended as a time to enjoy oneself. And while family can be a pain, try to stick with the ones you love, and hope they’ll reciprocate.