Chances are you may see your relatives on few occasions. Thanksgiving may be one of them. Christmas may be the other. You don’t want to upset the tone of the holidays by injecting a life-altering announcement that will either elicit a million questions or silence your guests who are unprepared for such news. The news may not sit as well as the turkey.
You don’t want to usurp and undermine the holiday with your coming out news or embarrass your relatives who thought your boyfriend was just a “friend” in the past. ( However, if your straight child has a “significant other,” show as much interest in your LGBT child’s love interest. ) For both straight parents and LGBT children, you should come out on your own timetable when you can focus on each other, not when you are busy delumping the gravy, carving the turkey, opening gifts, answering phone calls, and tending to possibly small children. Most holiday traditions do not include coming out.
So, when is a good time to come out?
· When the teller and the news recipient aren’t distracted.
· When the announcement allows time for conversation afterwards.
· When the parent and child are relaxed.
· When it is a private conversation.
What Do You Gain By Telling?
Before coming out, an LGBT child should weight the pros and cons. Before sharing the news, it’s helpful to review questions that you think your parents or loved ones will bombard you with and prepare your responses. Of course, you don’t owe answers to anyone. Your parents and other relatives may hug you an express unconditional love and support, hopefully.
Or, if they are adamantly opposed to same-sex love and have voiced this view, skip the revelation. If you think you could be banished from your house, I wouldn’t tell them until you are financially independent. As not all coming outs go well at first anyway, parents may try to guilt trip you or change your mind. Take this into consideration.
Anyhow, it’s the child’s story. If you know in advance that your child is LGBT, make sure you first obtain permission from him before he divulges the information to relatives and friends. Your child may want you to be the messenger.
What Not To Say To Your LGBTQ Child at Thanksgiving
On the website http://mykidisgay.com/5-things-not-to-say-to-your-lgbtqa-child-at-thanksgiving=dinner, writer Alyse Knorr suggests the following:
· Do not ask your child if they’ve “changed their mind” about their LGBTQA identity. This is not a “phase.”
· Do not introduce your child’s significant other as their “friend.” Don’t deny the relationship or ignore it. Ask our child what you should call their “significant other” when introducing that person to family and friends. Make sure your child doesn’t out his partner before his “main squeeze” is ready to come out.
· Do not call your child by any names or pronouns other than their preferred chosen name and pronouns. If you flub, apologize and say that you are trying to keep up with the new identity.
· Do not attempt to set them up with someone. Anyone. This will not change their mind and who knows better than your child whom he wants to date?
· Do not ignore the election. While politics are usually a no-no at the dining table, if Trump’s rescindment of LGBT rights rears its ugly head, you should assure your child that you are the best ally and will have his back.
No holiday is perfect, but these suggestions may make for a more comfortable holiday for everyone, especially the LGBT child.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.