Friday, December 08, 2006
Have a Happy Holiday Season - Tips for Family and Friends
Spending the holiday season with family and friends can sometimes be a stressful time. Here are some tips we found and adapted from the PFLAG website that may help you get through it.

If you are a friend or family member of someone gay...

- Set up support for yourself. It is important to realize you are not alone. If you need assistance or information, get in touch with someone at SAFE.

- Take your time. Acceptance may not come instantly, but be honest about your feelings.

- Don't be nervous about using the "correct" language. Honesty and openness creates warmth, sincerity and a deeper bond in a relationship. If you are not sure what is appropriate, ask for help.

- Realize that the situation may be as difficult and awkward for your LGBTQ loved one as it is for you.

Before the visit...

- Practice in advance if you are going to be discussing your family member's sexual orientation or gender identity with family and friends. If you are comfortable talking about it, your family and friends will probably be more comfortable too.

- Anticipate potential problems, but do not assume the reactions will always be what you expected.

- Consult with your LGBTQ loved one when coordinating sleeping arrangements if he or she is bringing home a partner.

- If your family member is transgender, practice using the correct pronouns.

During the visit...

- Treat a LGBTQ person like you would treat anyone else in your family.

- Take interest in your family member's life. He or she is still the same person.

- Don't ask your LGBTQ family member to act a certain way. Let them be their natural selves.

- If your LGBTQ family member is bringing a partner, acknowledge them as you would any other family member's partner.

- If your LGBTQ family member is bringing a partner, include them in your family traditions.

- Ask your LGBTQ family member about his or her partner if you know they have one.

See also: Tips for LGBTQ persons

Source: Tips for a Happy Holiday (PDF File), by PFLAG, with extracts from the book When Holidays are Hell...! A Guide to Surviving Family Gatherings, by Mariana Caplan