Tis the season for social obligation...
Unfortunately for some this leads to some awkward and uncomfortable situations.
How do you navigate family holiday parties when many family members are uncomfortable with queer people?
Personally I've been finding it more and more uncomfortable to go to my extended family's large holiday gatherings.
It wasn't so bad when I was still married and I could just play it straight, and pretend to be what they expected me to be. But nowadays many, if not most, know that I'm not straight, which makes things more complicated. Some would be convinced that I'm going to burn in hell. Some don't want their kids to hear that sort of thing. Some are accepting, but awkward. Some are really cool about it. It's a big family.
I'm definitely not planning any sort of large scale coming out, or starting a fight about it, but it's awkward to tiptoe around even basic "what have you been up to?" or "have you been seeing anyone lately?" sorts of questions without lying or withholding. Like I've been dating someone who I can't bring to the family gatherings, who has her own holiday family train wrecks to attend...
It ends up feeling a bit like being caught between a rock and a hard place. Be honest and risk a family meltdown, or lie and not have a real relationship with the family.
I know many of my friends avoid the issue entirely by spending the holidays with their chosen family, often because they don't have a choice, but I don't want it to have to be that way.
I know that simple avoidance of uncomfortable questions and sidestepping questions about my relationships and personal life is an option, but I'd rather not. Many of them want to have a genuine relationship with me and I want to have a genuine relationship with them, we're family after all.
So how do you navigate family holiday gatherings as a queer person?