It certainly isn’t easy being queer in a family that might not be welcoming.
I was asked on Twitter a long time ago, and I can’t find the original tweet, but it was someone asking me for some tips on how to not come out to their family, and still drop hints that they might be queer. It certainly isn’t easy being queer in a family that might not be welcoming. I don’t know if I can really give any tips. I personally am not out to everyone in my family. I know I have some family members that are not entirely supportive.
However, it’s not something that comes up in conversation so it’s easy for me to forget that I’m not out to everyone. A good example of this happened this recent summer. My parents and I went to visit my grandparents, because some family members were here from out of town. At one point, that family member asked me if there was a “special girl” in my life. I was actually a little taken aback by that until I remembered that I’m not out to that part of the family. I just laughed it off and said there’s no one special.
Going off that story, a tip would be avoiding gendered terms like boyfriend or girlfriend, instead using partner or significant other, or any other terms you prefer. And if people do ask you with specific gendered terms, just respond with neutral terms. This works whether you’re gay, lesbian, bi, pan, whatever.
I would definitely suggest you have a friend or two on hand (through texting or whatever you prefer) that you can vent to or talk with if you’re struggling with insensitive family members.
Set boundaries! You do not have to always explain yourself, you are allowed to say no and take a step back. If you need it, have some alone time. Family can be exhausting. It’s already exhausting enough being deaf, I can’t imagine what it’d be like with my queerness on top of that.
I may never be fully out with my family, but that’s okay. I’m not obligated to tell everybody that I’m queer. I don’t know how I’ll approach this with a partner. I may come out to some, I may not. Holidays with my partner might be with my chosen family rather than birth family. Who knows?
I hope this helps somewhat, and if you have any tips of your own for dealing with family during the holidays, leave them in the comments!
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