Tracker Pixel for Entry

Hosting LGBTQ+ family members during the holidays

by Faye Seidler | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | November 24th, 2017

Thanksgiving is upon us and we’re looking at Christmas next month, unequivocally the time of the year to focus on family, friends, and loved ones.

If you grew up in this area, regardless of where you are now, we’re a people bred of farmers and we value hard work and family above everything else. It certainly helps that our harsh winters keep us indoors and together.

A few months back I wrote an article about why people should move away from North Dakota. I followed that up with a piece showcasing the perspective of the people who have left. While the reasons were diverse, the themes that emerged were a lack of acceptance, opportunity, or safety. Some would come back a few times a year to see their family, but others had left for good.

With all of this mind, I’d like to go over some things to think about when seeing your LGBTQ+ family members during this holiday season.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that religion tends to be the big hold-up, where people have to balance their faith with accepting and loving their family members. The fortunate news is that we now have very inclusive and affirming churches. We have affirming religions of every order, who interpret and defend scripture as accepting of LGBTQ+ people.

In this regard, religion doesn’t have to be a barrier to speaking with your family member and I highly recommend talking with individuals like Reverend Joe Larson, Reverend Michelle Webber, or Reverend Grace Murray to learn more on how religion and LGBTQ+ acceptance can intersect.

Religion aside, one of the biggest problem lesbian, gay, or bisexual people have is when they bring home a significant other who is completely ignored. It may be unintentional, it may just be awkwardness, but it creates a very intimidating place where someone’s partner feels the full effect of being an outsider.

It is important to take some extra steps to include someone’s partner, regardless of sexuality, in the family. I don’t mean just throw them into some family game, I mean talk to them and see what they’d like, see what you can do for them, and what they’d like to provide during the holiday get-together. Because if they don’t feel welcomed or included, maybe next year you won’t see them or your actual family member.

One of the biggest problems for trans individuals is simply having their name and pronouns respected. I’ve heard some families demanding their trans family members only present as their sex assigned at birth or that they weren’t welcome.

I’ve heard of family members doing research on anti-trans talking points, so they’d be ready to challenge their trans family member the second they walked through the door.

Not only do those situations create a hostile environment where a trans person isn’t likely to want to ever return, it also a factor in why trans individuals attempting suicide is ten times the national average.

The best thing a family can do is acknowledge, embrace, and validate their family member’s gender identity. It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to slip up on names and pronouns, if a person corrects themselves when they make those mistakes.

Just understand that being trans isn’t a choice or a lifestyle and the only clinically effective method that allows a trans person to be happy is validating their gender.

As a final thought, family gatherings can be dozens of people with varying degrees of acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. It is important for parents and family leaders to set the tone of what is acceptable behavior and stand up for their LGBTQ+ family members when harassment occurs.

This is by no means a comprehensive look at this, but if family is important to you, this article should be a good primer to understand that works needs to be done if you want to keep your LGBTQ+ family members in your life.

Personally, I don't seeing being in the LGBTQ+ community as a choice or a lifestyle. It's part of who we are as humans and it's really unfortunate that it’s treated as both a political talking point and religious punching bag. It is tragic that 70% of homeless LGBTQ+ youth are on the street because of family rejection.

Being LGBTQ+ isn't something that can be changed, but I do feel we have a choice in how we embrace it.

[Editor’s note: Fae Seidler is North Dakota Safe Zone Project Spokeswoman]

Recently in:

OXBOW N.D. – Marcus Larson stops along freshly tarred Trent Jones Drive, careful not to spill his coffee swishing in a ceramic mug. He’s aware his 1991 Chevy pickup doesn’t belong amongst the neighborhood’s Porsches and…

The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County (HCSCC) has been dedicated to the preservation of the history of Clay County. Since their mission is “To collect, preserve, interpret, and share the history and culture of Clay…

Thursday, December 21, 6-9pmSanctuary Events Center, 670 4th Ave NGet in the Christmas spirit singing your favorite Christmas songs with friends and family. Music provided by the Good Shepherd band (Lutheran Church of the Good…

According to a New York Times article titled: “Tinder, the Fast-Growing Dating App, Taps an Age-Old Truth,” close to 50 million people use Tinder. On average they spend 90 minutes a day assessing their matches. Men are three…

What the hell is happening to this country?For a long time the United States has been considered to be the richest and most powerful country in the world. Our president has been the leader of the free world for decades because of…

cjlarson75@gmail.comNewly remodeled since July of this year, the Spirits Lounge inside the Holiday Inn in Fargo takes the lounge concept to a level of comfort that isn’t often seen in town.On one side of the room, underneath two…

On the Corner of University and Northern Pacific sits a building that has just been revitalized. Once a horse barn, this large picturesque structure now houses Wild Terra Cider and Brewing. When the new owners Breezee and Ethan…

“The DIY scene welcomed me in at the age of 15 and I never left. The DIY scene has allowed me to travel to 49 of the 50 US states. I have made friends all over this country that I will have for the rest of my life. People…

On her biggest canvas to date, filmmaker Dee Rees paints a vivid picture of two American families in “Mudbound,” a deeply satisfying drama based on Hillary Jordan’s 2008 novel.Adapting the screenplay with collaborator Virgil…

hanhe@mnstate.eduThere are a variety of types of events and groups in our communities that encourage and support women. Robin Swanson, organizer of Her Story, wanted to create another special event for herself and other women. “I…

Theater B is now opening its second show of the season with a play entitled "I Will Not Go Gently" by Jennifer Childs. "This clever one-woman show plays with our sense of nostalgia and shines a light on our quest for self…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Tony Gehrigtonygehrig@gmail.com I do not blame any company for seeking incentives. Rather, I blame the government for giving them away. Incentives represent an unfair and unsustainable tax system that affects real people.Some…