Everyone is so excited to GO HOME for the holidays.
"I can't wait to go home and be with my family for the holidays!" your sugar-straight girl, blonde co-workers are probably cooing.
And while us gays love our families as much as anyone else, going "home" can be a loaded situation for us.
Like, what if "home" is a Trump-supporting, homophobic small town — a place where you got beat up and verbally harassed or just lived a miserable, depressed, closeted life?
Well then, sweet pea, going "home" is a little more complicated.
"Aren't you excited to go HOME for the holidays?" the straights probably squeal to you at work.
And you're probably giving them a simple head nod, but inside, you're thinking:
"No, actually. I'm not excited to go HOME for the holidays because I'm a homosexual, and my town doesn't like homosexuals. In fact, my town is notorious for hate crimes. My entire family voted for TRUMP, and they didn't accept me because of my homo-ness until very recently.
When I was a teen, I was kicked out of my house for giving the boy/girl next door a blowjob/oral, and I had to live with my drunk Aunt Patsy for a while. Every time I walk through town, I'm filled with fear that the old jocks (who are now booze-swilling townies) are going to kick my ass like they did my entire childhood.
Oh, and did I mention I can't even go to a BAR and DRINK the pain away because every bar is full of confederate flags — not rainbow flags — and it's not safe for a roaring queen/dyke like myself to be around drunken bigots? So, NO, I don't know if 'excited' is the right term, hunty."
Maybe you're filled with fear and your brain is just made up of flashes of anxious memories.
I get it, honey. Please don't spiral. (Though, who can blame you?) I have some coping tips I've garnered from years of personal experience (do you know how homophobic FLORIDA is?) with homophobes:
Remember, you ARE NOT the same person you were then.
When you go back home, it's so easy to digress and suddenly feel like you're a pimply, depressed, closeted teenager.
I mean, if that's how you felt back then, and you're back in that house with all the same smells and sounds, you're probably going to be triggered.
You have to remember you're NOT that pimply, depressed, closeted teenager anymore.
But you have to remember you're NOT that pimply, depressed, closeted teenager anymore. You worked really hard to get out, and, honey, you got out. That isn't your life anymore.
You aren't trapped. You became really strong. I mean, look at you, baby! You're still standing, and you've been through a lot.
You're not the same person you were back then. You're safe, strong, fabulous and shiny now. You've built your own amazing, wonderful, glittery, G-A-Y world.
Stay in touch with your new friends.
You need to be reminded as much as possible that your homophobia-filled past isn't your life anymore. The people in your new life aren't homophobic at all. In fact, they're wildly supportive of your queer self.
But sometimes, when we go home, we feel back in the home bubble and forget we have this whole life outside of that bubble.
You have your urban family now — a family that embraces you. You need to stay in touch with them the entire holiday.
You have your urban family now — a family that embraces you.
Text them. Call them. Send each other funny GIFs. Vent to them about your racist Aunt Beth. Let them remind you of who you really are.
Don't get too blackout drunk.
Look, I'm no prim kitten. I like TO DRINK, baby.
But when emotions are running high, and you're trying to avoid a public meltdown, sometimes it's best to limit your drinking a little.
If you lose your shit and decide to tell everyone at the bar what you really think of them, you're not going to be so graceful about it. You could even get yourself into a dangerous situation, and I don't want that for you.
So, like, I don't know, stick to wine maybe? That way, you won't feel so vulnerable the next day (when you're already vulnerable) because you had a whiskey blackout and a public meltdown.
Remember what homophobia is really about.
Homophobia is terrible. It's a social disease, for sure.
But remember where the hate comes from, babes. Let's call homophobia what it really is — repressed h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-i-t-y. That's right, honey!
So all those poor homophobes are probably just closeted gays who wish they could get down and dirty with the same sex like you do.
They're wildly jealous that you get to fuck your own gender, so feel sorry for those who are too afraid to really express themselves. They're weak, while you're strong AF.
You did it. You came out, and anyone who comes out from a small, homophobic town is a hero.
So drown out the noise and give 'em empathy. Those poor, unstylish, repressed homophobes just don't have the same kind of gusto and courage as you do.
Put yourself first.
Remember, it's not your job to educate, it's not your job to justify and it's not your job to argue. If you feel like doing those things, DO IT. If you don't, don't.
Remember, it's not your job to educate, it's not your job to justify and it's not your job to argue.
You're under no obligation to do anything, and you need to put your own needs first. If you feel like going for a walk alone, do it. If you feel like really gaying it up and being your most flamboyant self, do it.
If you want to call your shrink and book a double session over the phone, do it, girl.
You're an adult now, and adults get to do what they want. That's the biggest difference between now and your old life.
You're a grown-up gay, and grown-up gays get to do whatever the hell they please, baby.