This article was published on December 13th, 2021
We all know that our community has it hard during the holiday season. We are often punished for being too fabulous. It is usually manifesting itself in the form of being disowned and disregarded. Is it our fault that our straight family members don’t get us? Nah – but it is a part of LGBTQIA+ life. Unfortunately for those under the T category in our community – the holidays can be stressful and full of fear. After all, it is one thing to say that you are gay and another to tell your family that your gender doesn’t match your natural-born sex.
The holiday times for someone trans are when they must endure looks of disapproval and awkward outings when a family photo is suggested. Perhaps grandma might even have something to say about their appearance and lifestyle.
We have a word of advice for you to help make this time a bit easier for the trans people in your life. Here are three ways to be an excellent trans ally during this holiday season and why they are important.
The first and most crucial thing you can do to support your trans family members or pals during the holidays is to show acceptance. Showing acceptance lets them know that someone is not looking down on them for being who they are. We all have a right to live out true colors, but trans people are often overlooked. Feelings of isolation can creep into trans people’s lives. Still, just by saying to a family member, “I appreciate and care for you as the person you are”, you can significantly reduce their stress level.
Doing this is akin to going to a homophonic area and finding someone who doesn’t care that we are around. How does it make us feel? Usually, it puts most people at ease just knowing that we have an ally in our corner if something were to happen.
The next thing you can do is offer to help educate the family. Many people, especially older generations, have difficulty understanding the differences between sex and gender. For four or five decades, most people hid their sexuality, and it was even rarer to find someone living their life as a trans person. Most older generations think of gender and sex as the same thing and explaining the difference can be challenging when we share how the trans family members and friends we love can greatly increase their comfort level. Also, ideas stick when they are repeated. So, tell your family and friends that trans is natural and nothing to think strangely can help change minds, alter ideas, and alleviate tensions.
The last and most important thing we can do to support trans family members is to accept that we do not have the same experiences as they do. We need to embrace Google and use it before asking questions that may be offensive. No marginalized community members are responsible for educating anyone on their lifestyle. So, if you find that you do not know a question that could be offensive, it is best to Google it. Google can likely give you an answer or at least an angle for asking the question while being respectful and mindful of your family members feelings.
Although, as gay people, we are all in the LGBTQIA+ community, we live different lives and have very different experiences from those who are trans. Even if you are trans and gay, your experience will be different from trans and straight. Can you think of other ways to help our trans family members and friends out? We would love to know if we missed anything in the comments. Happy Holidays everyone!