It’s that time of year again. That time where everyone around is full of cheer and full of holiday spirit. It’s the time of year where we see families enjoying each other’s company and loving on one another. It’s that time of year where you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside because Christmas is around the corner. Now, that means so many different things for so many people. For me, it’s that time of year where I get to spend most of my time with my loved ones. It’s that time of year where my parents’ house is warmer than normal, and I can constantly smell my mother’s baking. It’s that time of year where I’m reminded of how blessed I really am because my reality of the holiday season isn’t the same as it is for many other LGBTQ folk.
There is a harsh reality that many of us seem to overlook during the holidays. It’s the fact that many LGBTQ persons, especially youth, don’t get to enjoy the holidays. It’s not that they don’t want to, but rather they no longer have a family to call their own. After many LGBTQ persons, youth in particular, come out to their families, they don’t always get the welcoming response that some of us may take for granted. Some get kicked out of their homes and disowned by their families. Some are out struggling to look for a place to lay their heads at night. Then there are some who have and will test positive for HIV during this season, and may feel hopeless because that reality is something that will take the joy out of anyone’s spirit.
As suicide rates rise during this season, I believe it’s important for us to look out for one another and ensure that we all make it through. There are a number of things that we can do to help spread love and cheer this season, especially to those who may not have it:
Now, the above tips are for what a person can do to help out someone else. However, I believe it’s important to also give those going through a tough time a few tips on surviving the holidays and how to reach out for help:
The holiday won’t be jolly for everyone, but everyone deserves to feel loved and surrounded by love. Everyone deserves to know that even though you may not be where you want to be or have the things that you want to have, you are valuable. No one should feel alone this season. And if you or someone you know does, change it - you have the power to do so. And remember to smile, it’s contagious.