The holiday season is always stressful, but I think for a lot of LGBT people it has a greater chance of being full of badness or being full of more badness. It occurred to me over the weekend when several friends and I ran round to another LGBT friend’s house as an emergency “it’s not all shit” party to remind him he had family, even if not in the conventional way
The thing is, we were ready or expected it. Not necessarily for him – but for one or more of us; because this time of year hurts all of my LGBT friends, every last one – and some of us it hurts very badly. No-one made any plans, we didn’t sit down and draw up battle plans or charts or anything else (and I plan EVERYTHING) but we fully expect one of more of us will break every season, and several of us will crack – ‘tis the season for having one another’s backs and being ready to pick up the pieces
It’s fraught for several reasons
There’s family. Family you can’t be with because their hatred won’t allow it. Family you HAVE to be with despite their hatred making the turkey feel like acid on your nerves. Extended family who are more vicious than a rabid wolverine will suddenly be at unpleasant mauling range. Many couples are forced to split up for the holiday because their families won’t tolerate a partner – or because they have to closet for safety and can’t even admit to having a partner.
Family is far too often our greatest enemy. Many tongues will be bitten through before we can finally break free of them
Then there’s a whole lot more overt religiosity, Christianity will be blared at us from all angles – and people who spend much of the rest of the year telling everyone who we’re inhuman dirty monsters that should be shunned and persecuted will be given a high profile. Sometimes they won’t even pause in their vitriol and their joyous Christmas messages of peace and goodwill for all will come with a heavy “except LGBT people” disclaimer. Wall to wall broadcasting of a religion which loathes every breath we take is mind numbingly awful for many of us. And people will, of course, take great pleasure in telling us how very important this religion is to us all.
As a bonus, Christmas programming is generally even more heteronormative than the rest of the year (which is saying something).
Top it off with the freaking Salvation Army everywhere, which is permanently headache-worthy. They’re the worst, but you’ll be tripping over a lot of religious charities this time of year (as a bonus, the Blood Service also likes to step up their donation advertising, just in case we’re not getting enough “evil sinful homos!” on airwaves).
Our already disproportionate homeless rate becomes even more pressing in this colder months, and family tensions and forced family mixing can cause more than a few of us to be leaving their homes unplanned at this time of year – and the safety nets are too often manned by those very say bigoted charities.
The season of goodwill is often worse than any other time for LGBT people – make sure you look out for each other guys because some of us will crack and break under the tinsel and the holly