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Dear Jody: New traditions lead to smooth holiday season with family, friends

By |2018-01-16T13:51:47-05:00October 31st, 2017|Opinions|

Q: This really isn’t a question; I just wanted to let you know how my family’s Christmas went this year.
Three years ago before the Christmas season, I wrote asking what my significant other and I should do about Christmas because some of the family didn’t want us attending family gatherings as a couple with our two young children. Some of them were offended because we had held hands during gift exchange, and they said they wouldn’t come to anything we attended. The family was spit and fighting about the whole thing and those that wanted us around wanted us to just not touch or anything when the family was all together. We were beginning to feel that in order to be included in family gatherings, we needed to compromise who we are and pretend not to be a couple.
You suggested that we start our own traditions, asking those who wished to celebrate as a family to joins us in our home. We did just that, we started having Christmas dinner for all the family three years ago. We picked a time that didn’t interfere with any other family gatherings so everyone who wanted to come could. The first year we only had two families out of eight come over to our house for Christmas dinner. We were rather discouraged to say the least. Last year we decided to try it again, and we had three families show up. There weren’t a lot of us but we had a great time. We had planned a lot of Christmas activities for adults and children as well as everyone chipped in to preparing the meal. For me it was a wonderful Christmas and it felt so validating to have dinner in our home with a least part of our family. Well, this year all but two families joined us. We had 26 people at the Christmas dinner and we all had a wonderful time. Our two kids had lots of cousins to play with and it really was the best Christmas ever for me. I just want to let others know how good it feels to decide that we are a family and family members can choose to accept us or not but if they don’t we won’t be sharing our life with them. This decision to have Christmas in our home as a family has not only made Christmas wonderful but has enhanced our lives with our extended family year around.
After the first year, when we only had two families join us, we went to the members of the family that didn’t attend, and told them how we were saddened that they didn’t want to be part of our lives because of our being gay. For most of the family it was the first time they had ever talked about how they felt and what was bothering them. Most of them seem to think we were going to some how make them uncomfortable with our behavior or influence their children to be gay. We had some books on hand that talked about this and encouraged them to go to PFLAG in order to have someone they could talk with about their concerns. After the second Christmas we started inviting the adults to different events with us (concerts, movies etc.) and started asking them to small parties in our home. As they became more comfortable with us they started asking our family to do things with them and their children. Being included in these activities has been wonderful for our children
I guess overall, it just feels so good to now be accepted as a family and not have to change who we are.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.