The Holiday Season can be Pretty tough for LGBTQP+ Adolescents

a participant carries the rainbow flag during the annual gay and lesbian parade, organized by Taiwan LGBT Pride, in Taipei, Taiwan. This time of year can be tough for LGBTQ children and teens when it comes to gatherings. And advocates believe there’s even more at stake when shifts in identity, new names and pronouns, unsupportive relatives and a general lack of knowledge about related gender issues are in play, particularly for the first time. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying, File)

 

As we approach the Christmas season, families are buying gifts and preparing to spend time with loved ones.

But what gift will you be buying for your niece, cousin or sister, and what name will you be writing on that card. What may seem like a simple thing to many of us, strikes anger in the rising 4.5% which makes up the LGBTQP+. Today 5.1% of women identify as LGBT, compared with 3.9% of men, up from 4.1% in 2016.

16-year-old Hagerstown, Maryland high school junior, Jordan Rae O’Reilly is hoping for a better Christmas this year. He’ll be receiving top surgery to remove his breast a week before Christmas. He’s hoping this will end his body dysphoria. Jordan identifies as genderqueer.

When I first came out I got called my dead name a lot and she/her pronouns, which takes a huge toll on my mental state,

 Jordan told The Associated Press.

The holidays tended to be a huge low for me where I’d find myself a lot more depressed than normal. This year I won’t have to deal with the gender dysphoria, which I think will make my holidays a lot better. However, I know I’ll still have to deal with the misgendering, everywhere I go. Being misgendered is the worst part of the holidays,” he added. “It just reminds you of the part of you that you want to forget about, and it hurts more than usual because it usually comes from family.

With suicide high among LGBTQP+ adolescents, Twitter is one company that has taken the lead in creating a safe space for the LGBTQP+ community by banning anyone who deadnames or misgender an individual.

Here are some ideas for dealing with situations like this for the coming holiday season.

DO SOME DETECTIVE WORK.

Director of family support for Gender Spectrum, said it’s not uncommon for kids and teens to dismiss questions from parents, especially if they feel their answers will somehow “ruin” the holidays. She suggests starting with a simple question: “What needs to happen for you to feel good during the holidays?”

 

Parents should attempt to gather information from a child ahead of time at the right time and in the right place. Accept that answers may come in bits and pieces. Reflecting on past holiday gatherings might help. Ask for three things that didn’t go well and how those things can be changed.

 

“We’re not controlling our inner circle in the same way we might be able to do during the year,” Wool said. “The holidays are a time when we really are with groups of people that might not know us as well. And it really might be the first time that many people who aren’t in our day-to-day lives are seeing our child in a true gender for the first time. That can bring up a lot of situations and feelings for everybody.”

Pam Wool

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