Home For The Holidays: A Survival Guide

12/25/2017

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The holidays are a wonderful time of year for most, full of merriment, cheer, and all around good fun with friends and family. However, for those in the LGBTQ+ community, venturing home to families, friends, and communities who might not understand them or, in the worst case scenario, might be totally against them, can make the holidays anything but enjoyable.

I consider myself to be very lucky to have a group of friends and family that are accepting of me as a bi man. However, I did grow up in a small community with virtually zero LGBTQ+ representation and coming home for the holidays from Chicago means that I do have to give serious consideration to how I act and speak when I am out in public.

By no means am I ashamed of who I am; I am proud to be a bi man and an active member of the LGBTQ+ community. However, I also don’t want to spend my limited time at home arguing with people or defending the way I live my life to anyone. So, while out and about in my small hometown, I have some ways to make sure I have a good time while not getting into any unwanted confrontations.

Avoid people you know to be trouble and anti-LGBTQ+

In every town, there is that group; the one that loudly talks about their narrow-minded beliefs in public, whether it be that Trump is the best President ever or that “those damn queers won’t stop until they ruin everything for us” (an actual quote I heard while out in my hometown.) Soberly, it is easy to dismiss them but after a few drinks of your own, these comments can get harder and harder to ignore. However, no good can come from engaging with people like that, particularly in a drunken state. So do your best to steer clear…I suggest taking over the jukebox to drown them out.

Try to stay with a group of people at all times

Even in my hometown, I make sure I am with at least one other person when I am out at night. As someone who is publicly out and very vocal about my beliefs, I have to be aware that not everyone around me is a fan of who I am and what I stand for, so I make sure to never give them the opportunity to catch me alone or unawares.

Don’t overindulge on the holiday spirits

Keeping a clear head (or at least a semi-clear head) is the best way to avoid confrontation or potentially finding yourself in a compromising situation. Obviously, the more you drink the more your good decision-making skills go out the window, so it’s best to avoid overindulging in the spirits to keep your wits about you.

Surround yourself with people you trust and are comfortable with

This is the best way to enjoy your time at home for the holidays; surround yourself with those you know support and love you. For many of us, our time home is limited and the best way to take advantage of it is by avoiding people and situations that bring us anything other than joy.

The fact that you have to consider any of this is deeply unfair. Living your life out and proud is one of the things that is going to change this for future generations. So take a deep breath, stay safe, and stay proud.

Blaize Stewart
Blaize Stewart is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a BA in broadcast journalism and a MA in journalism. He currently lives in Chicago, IL and works as an influencer relations associate for a full-service influencer marketing agency called Faam and as an adjunct instructor at Robert Morris University. Additionally, he runs the LGBTQ+ blog Out Loud, a space for members to share their experiences and thoughts on current events and more.