You’re in love. You want to introduce your significant other to your family and the world. However, don’t let “smoke get in your eyes.” Thanksgiving may not be the best time for your boyfriend/girlfriend to get acquainted with your relatives.
Before you act hastily, consider these points:
- Are you “out” to your family? If not, this may not be the best time to tell them with the distractions of the holiday: making the perfect gravy, lengthy cleanup, and watching football games. You need a quiet time, a quiet place, and the undivided attention of the listener to “come out.”
- Know your audience. If you sense disapproval from your parents or other relatives, don’t make the situation worse by multiplying x 2. If your family’s religion forbids same-sex relationships, don’t put your boyfriend/girlfriend in the “hot seat.” And don’t insist on sleeping with your guest in your old room or anyone else’s for that matter!
- Define your relationship before you visit. Are you in a “relationship” or just friends who have only had three dates? Someone at the table will ask how you know each other and all eyes will be on your guest. If your significant other is shy, maybe this is not the best time to have him be in the spotlight.
- Is your family loud, noisy, argumentative? Or do they communicate well and show respect for everyone? You want your visitor to feel welcome!
- As holidays can be rife with anxiety, you may do better for introductions at a summer barbeque given by relatives. Everyone will be more relaxed.
- If your family is warm and welcoming, and your s.o. enjoys the family history stories, lucky you! As your family reflects your learned values and presumably is an extension of yourself, your loved one will feel more at ease.
- If your family doesn’t realize you’re gay, continues to make anti-gay jokes, and brings up politics that are not LGBT-inclusive, consider having Thanksgiving with your friends who are inclusive.
- If your family is divided about being accepting, you can always see the ones you like on the side. Major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas are not the time to be together en masse with a newcomer.
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.