When I was a kid I always looked forward to Christmas morning as much as any other kid. Some years were better than others but I could tell my parents always tried their best to get us something thoughtful. That’s why the movie A Christmas Story was so important to me as a child. What kid can’t relate to a story about wanting the perfect gift more than anything else?
This movie is a firm reminder of why the Holiday season is so difficult for so many trans folks. I sat here watching a movie I’ve seen hundreds of times with my loved ones. I tried to recall all the times we watched it together. All the times my sisters, my mom would roll their eye’s it was on and all the times my dad and I would get enthusiastic about the 24 hours it was about to play on TBS.
I reached the end of the film and broke into tears. First it was the happy ending. The little boy got the toy he was begging for the entire film. That feeling is a magical form of pure joy every child should get to experience at least once in their life. The second reason I was crying is because of all the ways this movie impacted my reality, both good and bad, as memories of my own childhood bullies rushed to mind as they often do. I, too, turned to violence to push away bullies once I was pushed past the brink. Unlike Ralphie in the film I never stopped. I became an extremely violent person due to excessive bullying. The third reason I was crying was the thought I might never get to sit and watch this movie with my family ever again.
I had plenty of Christmases where I didn’t get the exact thing I wanted. In fact I have more disappointing Christmas memories than I do of those like in this movie. That being said I do have a couple of very special Christmas memories similar to the ones in this movie. I previously wrote about my best Christmas memories here. The tears that rolled down my cheek upon arriving at the happy ending this film presented were brought on my the taint those memories now bear having been fully rejected by most members of that family. Knowing this year will be the first year I don’t get to spend Christmas morning with my sister and her kids is tearing me up inside.
I also previously wrote about some of my bullying I experienced when I wrote about the day Tuck Everlasting died. Much like the main character in this film I went through a series of bullies over the years. Unlike Ralphie I lacked the support network of close friends so I turned to violence at an early age. I was the same age he was in the film the first time I fought back. I also had the encouragement of my parents. The sad truth is though I eventually took it too far. I became the monster I was fighting against. This might not be the same story for every LGBTQ+ person but I know it is true enough for many of us.
I could have dried my eyes and moved on if that was where it stopped. Then reality sunk in. I am going to be spending all of the holidays this year mostly alone. I already had the Thanksgiving experience as a trans woman. I know it was a fine day I spent with my parents and my wonderful girlfriend. Despite that brief moment of joy I had with my parents it was a reminder I wasn’t invited to the family thanksgiving dinner. I had to meet my parents at Denny’s instead. I don’t know what Christmas has in store but I imagine it will be similar. Not just because I am trans and thus kicked out of the greater family but also because I am now Pagan thus won’t even be celebrating the same holiday as my family anyways.
This movie is a cruel reminder of all the pain and suffering LGBT people go through in our lives. It is a reminder of the masks trans women have to wear in order to blend in. It is a reminder of those holiday memories I robbed my mother of when I erased her “son”. It also reminded me how those holiday memories are now long gone. I have no idea what this holiday season has in store. I do know with each Christmas movie that formerly brought me joy I know watch with a bittersweet twinge of anguish instead of bliss. I am not likely to enjoy much this holiday season. That won’t stop me from trying to find new traditions with my chosen family as my blood family moves further away from my life. All I know is each holiday film I suffer through will undoubtedly end in tears.