Once again, it’s almost Thanksgiving, which for many of us means dinner with extended family, not all of whom share our political views or an understanding of what it means to be LGBTQ. Here’s an updated roundup of ways to survive the holiday–with a few dashes of inspiration thrown in.
Obviously, these ideas and suggestions can’t cover every family situation. It’s ultimately up to you whether to engage, ignore, or go home. Still, it pays to have tools in your toolbox to help you make that choice.
- “Home for the Holidays: Tips for Navigating Tough Conversations on LGBTQ Issues,” from HRC, gets right to the point.
- Gender Spectrum has a three-part video series on Navigating the Holidays for parents and caregivers of transgender, non-binary and other gender-expansive children.
- USA Today gives a reminder to parents of children who may come out over the holidays: research from the Family Acceptance Project (about which more here) has shown that a family’s reaction has a serious impact on the person’s long-term well-being.
- Starting on Thanksgiving Day, check out the many letters at Your Holiday Mom, “an online space where supportive moms gather to post a holiday message to all LGBTQ children, teens and adults who are without family support and who would like a ‘stand-in’ holiday family.” They’ll be posting every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. The site was founded by a mom who first used it to post a letter to her own transgender son—read more in the recent piece the Chicago Tribune just did on it.
- “Migrant, Refugee, Gay: You’re All Welcome at This Table,” by author, activist, and lesbian mom Masha Gessen, is a thoughtful story about the “Thanksgiving for queer asylum seekers” that she and a friend have held for many years, and about the importance and difficulties of hosting it in the current era.
- “10 Ways to Make Sure Politics Don’t Ruin Your Holidays,” from diversity consulting firm Cook Ross, focuses on political differences.
- “A Feminist’s Thanksgiving Survival Guide,” from the National Women’s Law Center, offers succinct rebuttals to specific complaints and arguments your more conservative relatives may make.
- Showing Up for Racial Justice is once again offering several Thanksgiving resources, especially “to help support white folks in having tough conversations with other white folks.” If this applies to you, check out:
- An updated Thanksgiving Discussion Guide, focused on indigenous solidarity. (Last year’s, on racial justice and talking across political difference, is still available.)
- The SURJ Holiday Hotline: Text SOS to 82623, and you’ll receive some talking points right on your phone.
- A printable Holiday Placemat for Indigenous Justice—a quick and useful reference guide.
- Let’s not forget that Thanksgiving is part of a colonialist narrative that brings its own set of issues. Teaching Tolerance has a number of resources for “Teaching Thanksgiving in a Socially Responsible Way.” They’re aimed at teachers, but work for parents, too.
- Engage the children in your family through StoryCorps’ second Great Thanksgiving Listen, in which it asks younger listeners to record conversations with their elders through the StoryCorps smartphone app. Founder Dave Isay (who happens to have a gay dad) told NPR last year, “We’re not asking people on the app to argue about politics. It’s about talking about, you know, who they are, where they come from, what their dreams are…. Each interview goes to the Library of Congress…. So we’re hoping that a lot of people will participate, and it’ll be a moment of unity at this very difficult time when the country is ripped down the middle.”
- Finally, if you need some inspiration in the kitchen, check out this recipe for Pomegranate-Glazed Cornish Hens from Iron Chef, restaurateur, and lesbian mom (of six!) Cat Cora over at Autostraddle.
However you recognize the occasion (and even if you don’t) here’s wishing you peace and enjoyment this week with family and friends. Posting will be light here through the holiday weekend, but you can always join in the conversations on Facebook and Twitter.