With the holiday season quickly approaching, many young people face the pressure of returning home to see their families and enduring an endless amount of questions about their work, their future, and their relationships.
For queer people, this pressure multiplies as these questions force them to decide whether or not this will be the year they come out to their families. Some people choose to come out during the holidays because they want to bring their partners home or because this is the only time they’ll be with their entire family at once.
Whatever the reason, coming out during the holiday season can be even more stressful than coming out during any other time. All families are different and if you choose to come out to your loved ones you should think about what would be best for you- however there are a few things to keep in mind as you make this decision that could help make this process easier.
Decide Whom You Want to Come Out To
The first thing you should consider is which person you want to come out to first. This is particularly important if you have many people to come out to or if you think that some of them will not react well to the news.
Telling everyone at once increases your chances of a bad reaction, as some family members may become influenced by the others and not feel comfortable speaking up to give you their support. If you have an idea of who will react badly and who won’t, it may be a good idea to isolate those who you know will support you and tell them first. If you know you have that person to turn to, it will be much easier to come out to the others next. If that person feels comfortable, you might even ask them to be with you when you tell the others so you have that support with you when you need it most.
If you don’t have a family member present who you think you can trust to support you during your coming out process, you could also ask a friend who already knows about your sexual orientation to come with you as emotional support. Regardless of where you get it from, having someone in your corner during this time is extremely important. Even if you don’t think your loved ones will react badly to your coming out, having someone who already knows there with you can still give you a little extra courage to help get you through the conversation.
Find a Safe Space
Another thing to remember when coming out is that you should always have a safe place to go to once the conversation is over. If you’re staying with your family during the holidays, it might be a good idea to have a backup place to go to, either a friend’s house or a hotel.
Even if the conversation goes well, coming out can be a heavy emotional process and you may feel the need to get away for a little while to decompress. If the conversation does not go well, this is even more important as you need to guarantee that don’t get yourself stuck in a place that is mentally or emotionally unsafe for you. A lot of the stress that occurs when coming out during the holidays is knowing that you’ll be stuck in the same house as those relatives for an extended period of time. Having a safe place to escape to after coming out can save you a lot of unnecessary fear and tension.
There is no perfect time or way to come out to your family, but if you decide to do it during the holidays make sure you do it in a way that keeps you safe. If you’re still unsure of how to go about coming out to your loved ones, there are many websites such as Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project that have an abundance of resources that will help you decide on what way works best for you.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.