The holiday season can be pretty stressful, especially when you’re the gay member of a religious family and especially when one of your siblings is getting married a few days before Christmas and the other a few days after. This is the position we’re in. My family is attempting to combine one stressful situation (having a gay son/brother) with three stressful events — Christmas and two weddings. Add to the stress the fact that me and all my siblings got married this year so our family is entirely new to planning the holidays around in-laws’ schedules.
From the perspective of a gay member of the family, I don’t look forward to peoples’ reactions when they learn, if they haven’t heard already, that I’m married to a man. I dread conversations like these:
I don’t have too much reason to suspect anyone in my family will follow her instructions, but bitter conversations over Facebook suggests the possibility I might be met with hostility of the passive-aggressive type. Fortunately, I have potential allies in the family as well (e.g., a cousin who “likes” Facebook posts about gay issues); I’m hopeful it won’t be too painful if I show up to my dad’s family’s Christmas party. And even more fortunate than that, I haven’t had to worry at all with my mom’s family. One aunt and her daughter — my cousin (and friend) — extended a warm invitation to Thanksgiving suspecting Dan and I might feel uncomfortable attending.
Perhaps the most stressful part of it all is the disregard Dan experiences. My dad doesn’t acknowledge his presence at family outings. He has also suggested that Dan should be introduced at Christmas and the weddings as “a family friend” or roommate. (I have a hard time believing there are people out there who don’t know I’m gay and don’t know Dan and I are partnered, but that’s always a possibility I guess). And I don’t blame my dad for being nervous about how people will respond; people can be mean and it’s scary to consider all the potential reactions people might have. I’m nervous about peoples’ reactions too, but I’ve had more opportunities to experience those reactions and awkward moments than has my dad.
Despite all the potential stress, frustration, and awkwardness this holiday season might bring, I’m looking forward to having my first Christmas with Dan. The holidays for these two gays are going to rock.