How to survive family affairs for a nice LGBT Thanksgiving
As the US celebrates today, we also want to share time with our family and loved ones in true LGBT thanksgiving fahsion. But what if we can’t stand going home because of a particular family member who hates gays?
This raises an important question, given the divisive times we live in: is it better to let things be with that homophobic, Trump-supporting aunt or uncle– or should we be more vocal?
LGBT thanksgiving: Time to put ’em up… or shut up?
While Thanksgiving is a time when we can get together, that usually means we end up facing people who have very heated and sometimes extreme opinions on politics, morality, or religion.
Some people– like Doug Friednash of Denver Post– have opined that despite the political polarization, we should continue to be polite to your racist or homophobic Trump-supporting relatives to help heal the “tribal discord.”
“We need to listen harder to what people are saying. People that disagree with how we see the world may be our opponents, but they need not be our enemies. They can be our frenemies,” Friednash wrote.
However, Amy McCarthy, editor of Eater Dallas and Eater Houston, said this assessment is a “steaming pile of bullshit.”
“There is no amount of civility that can balance the harm of xenophobic nationalism, and no amount of sitting silently while listening to someone spew racial epithets that will repair what Trump and his ilk have broken,” McCarthy said.
She said that if you have the economic privilege, you have the obligation to “push back against harmful rhetoric simply because others do not.”
She also quoted author and professor Tayari Jones, who wrote in the Times: “We have to decide what is central to our identity: Is the importance of our performance of national unity more significant than our core value?”
LGBT thanksgiving: The family that fights together…
We also have to admit that some family members– especially for us in the LGBT community– can be pretty toxic. So if you’re not up to fighting them, that’s also all right.
Talking to Bustle, clinical psychologist Deborah Offner, PhD, said that: “If you’re at the point of considering skipping Thanksgiving, there’s a good chance things are pretty bad.”
“Think about the cost to you. Does it take you a week or more to recover from the toxic environment? Do you always come down with a terrible cold when you get home?” she asked.
“If you’ve answered yes to these questions or others like them, you need to take care of yourself [and stay home]. If not, you might reconsider,” she said.
One way to tell your family that you won’t be coming, Offner said, is by telling them you have to cover an extra shift at work, or that you’ve decided to spend your Thanksgiving Day volunteering locally.
While honesty is the best route, when it comes to dealing with a toxic family, Offner said: “There’s brutal honesty, and then there’s everything else. You get to pick.”
LGBT thanksgiving: Flying out for the holidays
If you’re wondering what to do if you’re avoiding that toxic family member, you can always head out to South Florida.
Currently, four South Florida cities– Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, and Oakland Park– have been ranked among the most in-demand gay-friendly global cities for LGBTQ travelers during the holidays.
This was according to the Holiday LGBTQ Travel Ranking from the website misterb&b, which connects LGBTQ travelers with short-term rental apartments and private rooms.
Just so you know, Wilton Manors had just elected an all-LGBTQ commission during the midterm elections.
Also helping to make South Florida a top destination for LGBT travelers is the fact that the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has someone assigned to to cultivate the LGBT tourism market.
After all, why suffer in silence with your toxic family for the holidays when you sit back on your chair and enjoy the sun on your own (or with other members of the community)?