Don’t worry DIVAs, we’ve got you! 🎄
BY KATIE MCKENZIE, IMAGE BY ZACHARY DRUCKER/THE GENDER SPECTRUM COLLECTION
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Except for when it’s… not. If you’re worried about navigating this year’s festivities surrounded by unsupportive people, here are our tips for Yuletide survival.
- Make a plan and be safe
Whether it’s reaching out to a close friend when things get tough or arranging somewhere to go should things take a turn for the worst, make sure you’re keeping yourself safe this Christmas.
If you feel you don’t have someone you can turn to, there are so many online groups and hashtags you can join to find likeminded people. Helplines such as the LGBT Foundation’s helpline are also there to support you if needed.
If you can, plan ahead by messaging your host to create some boundaries which will make your stay more comfortable. For example, that you aren’t prepared to discuss your dating life, your dietary habits or any other controversial topics. That includes the debate over whether Jack and Rose could have shared the wardrobe in Titanic.
2. Be the CEO of deflection
When spending time around family, it can be difficult to ignore nonsense takes which wouldn’t even make it onto a boomer-ridden panel show – but you can and you must! Christmas should be a time to relax, indulge and spend time with people you love, but if someone missed the memo – become a spy and simply observe the chaos without feeling the need to get involved.
If you’re in a surreal situation, such as a particularly heated family discussion or should you find yourself in a room full of people who think political correctness has “gone too far”, simply pretend you’re only there for the purposes of investigative journalism. Simple.
Anything particularly noteworthy can be unpacked at a later date with your agent on the outside (that’s your friend you can furiously text in between courses!)
If you’re staying with family for an extended period of time, take time to escape for a breath of fresh air when you can. Self care is the ultimate stocking filler. Keeping useful phrases to hand such as “pass the sprouts” is a gentle way to let people know that you’re done with a conversation whilst keeping things light. Bonus points are awarded for saying it as loudly as possible!
3. Most of all, be you! (If you feel like it)
Spending time around people who don’t get you can be draining. However, you’re not any less you if you feel like you’re toning it down. It’s tricky to feel as though you’re on trial or being bated to explain exactly why millennials are trying to cancel gendered avocados – or whatever else uncle John can dream up.
The festive season is a marathon, not a sprint – so remember you’re not any less queer, even if you’re choosing peace over presence this year. If this is your stance, you’ve nothing to lose from telling a few white lies: “No granny, I don’t have a boyfriend just yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed!”
Whoever you’re spending the season with is lucky to have you. However, if you’re finding things tough, remember that your LGBTQI membership isn’t just for Christmas, and there is an entire community of people who are sending you big hugs to get you through.
DIVA magazine celebrates 27 years in print in 2021. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable.