Now that the holiday season is in full swing, you want to enjoy it. And you want to enjoy it with your family. The situation is different for everyone: some people have come out as transgender to their families, others are still debating and some may be out to a few family members but not all. Regardless of where you are in this journey, you may find yourself faced with questions about your transgender identity this holiday season. So how do you handle them and come out feeling intact?
A Few Things to Remember
Anyone who’s struggling with their life’s journey may feel that they’re being attacked, judged or dismissed while they’re on that difficult path. This can lead people to misinterpreting what may be poorly phrased but honest attempts at understanding. People can surprise you, even people you’ve known your entire life, and it may not always be a bad surprise.
Coming out is a continual process; you may have to do so many times, explaining yourself to extended family members. If they react badly, that is not your responsibility. You’re not required to answer questions that are genuinely offensive. If they become too difficult to be around, you have the right to leave. Do so and create your own holiday gathering with supportive friends.
Have a support network available—smartphones are wonderful for this—when you’re in a holiday setting that might not be fully comfortable for you. Remember that your family may also be under a lot of stress during the holiday season; attitudes that seem brusque or cold could be due to exhaustion. Don’t feel that you’re required to overextend yourself in an attempt to get approval. You are who you are, and the only one who has to be fully comfortable with that is you.
You Have Support
If your blood relatives are having a difficult time accepting you, the holidays can be difficult. But you’re not alone. Thousands of other transgender individuals are going through similar experiences and struggling with feelings of loss. You can find acceptance and support by reaching out to transgender support groups. Many offer holiday gatherings for transgender individuals who feel uncomfortable attempting to join family celebrations.
Remember that people change as time passes; this year may be difficult, but if you encourage your family to educate themselves and remind them that you’re still the person you’ve always been (just happier and more wholly yourself now) the results may surprise you.