Hard Questions at the Holidays – Supporting someone who’s not out

This December, we’re talking about #HardQuestionsAtTheHolidays. The holidays can be hard for LGBTQ+ folks and their families since extended family might be confused or unsupportive. We’re looking at questions folks might ask and how you can answer them.

Today’s question: “How do I support someone who’s not ready to be out to everyone?” Our answer: check in with them! You can also affirm that they’re not any “less gay” or “less trans” just because they’re not ready to talk to the extended family about it.

Holidays can be a stressful time anyway, and sometimes LGBTQ+ folks want to just have a nice dinner without explaining how “gay” is different from “trans” to that second cousin we’ve only met once before.

Some things to check in about: How to respond to nosy questions from family? Like if people ask “Why doesn’t Johnny have a girlfriend yet?”, what does he want you to say? 

If they’re going by a new name, what name do they want used with family? Maybe they want you to use their old name, but maybe they’ll say something like “I hate it when you call me Jake, and I’m not ready to have the conversation about being Jane, so call me ‘J’”

Other things: Are there family members they are out to? Can you do a little mini-get-together with just that group, so they can be themself for just a bit? If you’re visiting family for several days, it’s not weird for a couple people to go out for a walk without taking the whole group!

You can also pack affirming clothing, like affirming underwear, so that even if your child doesn’t feel comfortable wearing their regular wardrobe, they can still feel like themselves in some small, private way.

Family events can be tough for LGBTQ+ people, but by showing your support and checking in, you’re making a huge impact! 

And remember, if you need support, we’re here for you! Email the office at info@gbpflag.org or contact our helpline: https://gbpflag.org/helpline/, and the Trevor Project has immediate support for kids who need it: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help/