Coming out is a big decision, and the holidays might seem like a good time to do it. If this is the time you’ve chosen to reveal your true self to your family and friends then congratulations! You’ve passed the first hurdle. Deciding when to break the news to them is a great first step.
To help you take the next one, we’ve put together some ideas and tips to keep in mind when coming out to your family this Christmas Season.
Know That You Don’t Have To Come Out
Just a reminder: you are not any less of a person if you are not ready to come out yet. No one should pressure you into coming out to your family and friends – it should be your decision and your decision only.
Read How Other People Have Come Out
This research is important. It might feel like you are intruding on a private moment, but it can help you anticipate potential challenges and avoid making the same mistakes. Your family is likely not going to react in the exact same way as others do, but it does give you a little inkling of what to expect.
Here’s one of our favorite coming out stories.
Write Out What You Want To Say First
Before you even show up at home, start writing out what you want to say. Even if you end up not reading what you started with, it will help you get your head together and think more clearly about what you want to communicate.
If you want, you can later read this out loud to your family like a speech. However, we find that it’s often better to use it as a guide instead – this allows you to stay in the moment and respond thoughtfully to your loved ones.
Don’t Just Blurt It Out At Dinner
You might be tempted to just be out with it, but that can be a little unfair to whoever planned the Christmas dinner. A revelation that huge can lead to awkward table conversation. While living your truth out loud is important, picking your moments is equally important.
Make Sure The Right Person Breaks The News
You want to be in control of the situation and all the information. You don’t want your parents to find out you’re LGBTQ from someone other than you! However, depending on your family dynamic, you may have to plan accordingly – consider asking another family member to act as a go-between if it’s too tough for you.
Write A Letter
If you are nervous and think you’ll chicken out, write a letter and leave it for your family to find. This will help you say everything you want to say without any interruptions, as well as give your family some space to react to and process the news before you see them again. Be careful where you leave this letter though because it might fall into the wrong hands.
Set Aside Time To Come Out
All of us have holiday traditions we follow – seemingly endless games, dinners, and family gatherings. If you are planning on coming out, plan around these traditions. After all, you don’t want to drop a bomb like that right before heading to a big party! Give your news some time to settle in and your parents a moment to react.
Prepare Yourself For Questions
This might not occur to you, but your family might have questions, especially if you have brought home members of the opposite sex before. Be as graceful as you can, they are just trying to get their heads around this new information about you.
Some questions to prepare for:
- How long have you known?
- Are you dating (insert person’s name)?
- Are you sure?
- How do I support you?
- What does this mean for us?
- What will change from here?
This doesn’t mean that you have to answer all of their questions, especially if they’re too personal or invasive. But do allow yourself to be vulnerable and open up – it could make a huge difference in how they understand you.
Give People A Chance
People might not react the way that you want them to. This is big news and will take some people more time to adjust to than others – especially older relatives. This might be difficult but keep steady; most of them will come around once they have time to think about it.
Be ready for negative reactions, too. You might be happy to explore this new exciting side of you, but your family might not share your enthusiasm. Stand your ground and remember that you (and your sexuality) are valid, no matter what anyone else thinks.
Get Someone Else To Help You
Are you too nervous to do it alone? Tell a trusted family member first and have them help you tell everyone else. It can be a huge help to have that support in your corner.
Just be careful who you trust with the news – your “helper” might turn out to be a gossip. You don’t want them to be telling people around you before you have the chance to do it.
Don’t Bring A Partner Home For This Holiday
One of the reasons you might want to come out is that you are dating a magical new person and want to bring them home. You might be tempted to bring them home and have them there while you come out.
While this isn’t always a bad idea, it could potentially get awkward for both your partner and your family. You are bringing someone who is essentially a stranger into a very intimate family moment. Yes, it’s great you are dating someone, but keep the big news to one bombshell per holiday.
Remember The Holiday
Don’t make the holiday all about your coming out. While it’s a big deal and an important step, there are other things going on as well. Plus, some of your family might already know (or at least have suspected something) and simply go right back to their pie after you speak your truth.
This holiday isn’t all about you. While you are an important part of your family and you have big news, your Christmas dinner is still about family and, well, Christmas!
Congratulations on deciding to tell your family your truth. It’s a huge step just to decide on when to come out to them. Now that you know you’re going to tell them this holiday season, you have ample time to prepare!
With these tips, we hope to make it a little easy for you. Remember, it’s not always a joyous conversation, but it’s an important one.
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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.