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20 Holiday Tips for Dealing With an Unaccepting Family

Your family might not be accepting, but that doesn't mean you can't stay safe.


Your family might not be accepting, but that doesn't mean you can't stay safe.


The holidays are coming up, and, cards on the table, that isn't always a good thing. Winter Break can be painful to deal with if your family isn't accepting or supportive. As Christmas looms closer, here are 20 suggestions we recommend for surviving the holidays.

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Cap the pre-break with happy times


The days leading up to the holiday break can be the most stressful part. It's hard to say what the holidays will be like, who will be supportive, and who will pick a fight. So make sure to take some time for yourself, let loose, and create some happy memories.

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Make a list of things to look forward to


Will you get to spend time with a beloved family pet? Will your family buy you gifts? Or maybe you'll get to enjoy free food and homemade meals for your entire stay? Whatever it is, make a list of things that will make you happy during your stay, and then focus on those things when your visit gets tough. It may just help you through.

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Consider upcoming problems


Think realistically about some of the struggles you'll face at home and plan accordingly. You might not deal with too much arguing from parents, but there may be issues with personal boundaries and privacy. Or your parents may argue with you frequently, but largely respect your ability to come and go from the house at will. Consider what the holidays will be like and make plans to protect yourself (and your peace of mind) accordingly.

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Do some journaling


Journaling is a great way to express yourself privately, openly, and honestly. We recommend starting one. Just make sure to protect your privacy.

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Hide personal belongings


If your parents are prone to privacy violations, hide your personal belongings. Put medications like estrogen or Truvada away in backpacks or binders. Hide condoms in wallets or hoodies. Stash vibrators away in purses or sports bags.

Photo: Jeremy Bishop (Unsplash)

Check in with a partner or buddy


A great way to feel grounded is to have someone to rely on to talk about the day and vent about problems. Whether it's your partner or a close friend, choose a point of contact that you can open up to. It's not just cathartic, it's a great way to stay afloat during a particularly rough holiday week.

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Or check in with your therapist


If you have a therapist, we highly recommend checking in. If a stressful or uncomfortable situation comes up, your doctor can help you work through any problems.

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Take care of yourself and your body


Eat well. Get plenty of sleep. Don't forget to take your medication. The break might be tough, but it will only be worse if you don't make sure your body is feeling well. So make sure you feel okay physically too!

Photo: Xochi Romero (Unsplash)

Put time aside for yourself


Watch a whole series on Netflix. Go to a hometown party and get a little tipsy. Stop in at a local coffee shop and do some journaling. Put time aside to relax and destress. You'll need it.

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Find excuses to get out


Take a trip into the city. Go to a holiday party. If the weather is comfortable, go to the park and read. Find a way to get out of the house every day to minimize time around your unaccepting hosts.

Photo: Alisa Anton (Unsplash)



Consider volunteering at a local charity, support group, or LGBT-adjacent group. Not just will it keep you busy and away from unsupportive family members, but volunteering will also give you the opportunity to give back to people in need within your hometown's community.

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Stay over at a friend's house


Do you have the chance to stay over at a friend's place? Take advantage of it. Going to sleep in a safe and accepting environment will make each day a little more bearable during break.

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Or cut the break short


Just because you're on winter break doesn't mean you have to stick around for the holidays. Trim your homeward-bound schedule, and make the visit as tight as possible. One idea: come home on Christmas Eve, leave on the 27th. Or stick around until January begins, then head out. Things will feel a little more bearable if you cut down visiting.

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Reach out to supportive family


Do you know a cousin, aunt, or uncle that is supportive of LGBT people? Perhaps they're queer or trans themselves? Consider reaching out to them for help and support. They might be able to aid your family with accepting you... or at least give you emotional support when things get rough.

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And strategically come out


If you're still in the closet with some extended family, an uncomfortable holiday might be the perfect time to come out to family members outside of your immediate family. They can help give you advice, or share some insight about why your parents may not be so accepting.

Photo: Annie Spratt (Unsplash)

Look for solutions


Sometimes families are unaccepting out of ignorance. Try using the opportunity while you're home to figure out how your family is feeling, what they think, and whether there is an opportunity for them to be supportive down the road. We recommend checking out local support groups that might be open during the holiday break.

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Check out LGBT events nearby


These can be great for two fold. For one, they provide an opportunity to connect with other queer or trans folks strugging during the holidays. Likewise, familhy support gropus might give you the opportunity to break through to your parents and get them to accept you. Check one out nearby; it doesn't hurt.

Photo: Tegan Mierle (Unsplash)

Come up with an escape plan


Sometimes an unaccepting family is tolerable in small dosages, like holiday breaks. But even if your family is better than some, you should always walk into an unaccepting environment with a plan to get out and go if things get too tough. No matter what, don't leave yourself vulnerable.

Photo: Lizzie Guillbert (Unsplash)

Don't give in

Don't put up with bullying, and don't let your unaccepting family members dictate who you are. You know yourself better than anyone else, so don't let anyone tell you that your sexuality or gender identity isn't real.

Photo: Sylvain Reygaerts (Unsplash)

Treat yourself


Splurge on that hot chocolate, grab another serving of ice cream, or take yourself out on a shopping date. Put time aside and reward yourself just for getting through the holidays. You deserve it, dear.

Photo: Alisa Anton (Unsplash)

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Ana Valens

Ana Valens is a trans woman and queer critic. She writes about representation in media and the daily lives of queer and trans women living in the United States. Alongside PRIDE, her work has been seen on Bitch Media, ZEAL, The Mary Sue, Kill Screen, and The Toast.

Ana Valens is a trans woman and queer critic. She writes about representation in media and the daily lives of queer and trans women living in the United States. Alongside PRIDE, her work has been seen on Bitch Media, ZEAL, The Mary Sue, Kill Screen, and The Toast.