Advice for LGBTQ+ Students Staying at Home for the Holidays

For many LGBTQ+ youth, this time of year can be a more difficult time than others. Schools are closing for winter break, some of us are gathering to celebrate holidays, and lots of us are spending more time with family than usual. As students enter this season, GLSEN has a few recommendations for creating care plans:

  1. Connect with comforting items, spaces, and people. Especially if you’ll be with family who are not affirming or supportive, it can be helpful to make plans before the season starts for staying connected with what brings you some enjoyment. Are there books, games, movies, tv shows, stuffed animals, stress balls, or other items that can help in difficult times? Are there places that bring you calm and peace, whether it’s a community space or just being in nature? Are there family members or friends you can connect with to vent, receive love and support, or just chat with? Even think about spending intentional time with family pets!
  2. Let your community know what support you need during this time. Think about which days might be the most difficult for you during this season, and ask your friends and community to be available for support, to check in with you at certain times, or set specific times for video, phone, or text conversations. What might be most accessible is setting up some time together after this season to reconnect and have fun together.
  3. Prepare and practice for what’s to come. Whether you are out to everyone, out to some people or in some ways, or totally not out, it can be helpful to think about how you want to handle friends or family members knowing different aspects of your life. Consider how you might respond to being misgendered, hearing rude comments, responding to questions about your gender or who you’re dating, or other uncomfortable situations. It can even be helpful to practice with a friend with comments or questions you expect.
  4. Know your worth. Remember that you are valuable and deserving of love, no matter what the situation you’re in this season. It may be helpful to journal or speak affirmations aloud to ground yourself in difficult times. Remind yourself that you are respected and loved by people who see you; think about even starting a group text with other friends in similar situations to affirm each other.

By k.jones, Director of Youth Programs