Editor’s note: The Gay Agenda is a column about LGBTQ experiences and questions.
Oh, the dreaded Thanksgiving meal. If you’re lucky, it’s the only time of year you have to deal with the relatives you aren’t close enough with to see over winter break. And you’ll get asked the same questions over and over by different aunts or uncles: How’s school? What are you studying? When will you graduate? Are you working? And the especially feared: Are you seeing anyone?
Annoying or even uncomfortable for most, this family togetherness time can be downright horrible for LGBTQ people, whether you are out of the closet or not.
If you are out, even if you live in a blue state like Washington, chances are you’ll have an older relative that uses incorrect pronouns, “doesn’t get” your “lifestyle,” or doesn’t want you hanging around the younger children.
If you’re not out, you might have to listen to family members rage against Pete Buttigieg, the “homosexual agenda,” PC culture, or call trans people snowflakes, if not something worse.
So what can you do besides grit your teeth and soldier on?
For starters, eat
Modern Thanksgiving celebrations are built around food. As a college student, I would suggest that you not pass up a free hot meal. Take as many leftovers as you can so that you can stretch the remainder of your dining account over the final two weeks of the quarter.
If you are of legal age or your family allows you, drink
Lord knows a stiff cocktail has gotten me through some family dinners. Just don’t go too hard. Keep your wits about you so you don’t pop off on your racist uncle. My personal favorite is mixing tequila with Squirt and grenadine.
Enjoy a break from school
Even if you don’t get along with family, take time to appreciate a long weekend. Finals will be coming up once you return, so try to find time and space to unwind. Catch up on sleep; let your brain rest before dead weak. I use Thanksgiving weekend to plan out a study schedule for dead week and make sure I have everything I need from home, like extra tea and comfy clothes.
Remember your friends
Sharing family horror stories is as much a Thanksgiving staple as turkey and pie. Why else would SNL have a million skits about it? Text your friends as much as you can, but remember that they might be busy with their own holiday traditions.
Make yourself comfortable
Worried that reverting to an old gender identity will trigger some dysphoria? Remember that your safety and comfort are a priority. And fall is the time for oversized sweaters and flannels. If your family doesn’t make you dress up for dinner in the living room, kick it in a baggy hoodie and leggings or jeans.
Take a freaking bath
One thing I hated most about dorm life was not having a bathtub. And what’s a better way to avoid your family and relax at the same time? Light some candles, add some bubbles, and just chill out by yourself.
Choose your battles
I try not to argue politics at the holiday. You probably won’t change any minds, so save yourself some effort and frustration. If you want to, more power to you, but don’t feel guilty if you just keep your head down and power through this holiday.
Reach columnist Miranda Milton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @mirandamilton
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