The holidays are a joyous time full of wonder and awe. It’s a time when families get together to show their love for one another. It’s a time of spreading cheer and goodwill around the world. Except it’s not any of those things for many queer people.
This is the first “Christmas” day I will be spending separated from my kin. It’s a day I’ve long dreaded. I know all too many queer folks who will be alone this holiday. Too many who have already considered harming themselves.
There are so many holiday traditions from all over the world. A line from my favorite Christmas themed horror film reminds me all too well one tradition nobody likes to think about. The movie is Gremlins. The line is when the character Kate says “while some people are opening presents, others are opening their wrists.” This is a dangerous time for queer people. We’re often faced with rejection from our blood relatives. While many of us do find solace among our found families, or chosen families as we often refer to them, it doesn’t eliminate the sting of that rejection entirely, especially in the early instances.
This year has been tough for me. I know it has for others in my extended queer family as well. Too many of us will end up spending the day alone while our families go about their lives pretending their in the right, somehow allowing themselves to feel good and celebrate “peace on earth” despite the trauma they will put us through. It makes listening to holiday themed songs painful. The tainted memories of our families former gatherings from holiday’s past makes even our most cherished and beloved holiday films feel more like empty, shallow reminders of our current affairs rather than bringing back warm fuzzy memories of our childhoods we’d sooner forget than celebrate.
Many queer people turn to watching horror movies during this time of the year. For us it’s a way to watch a movie as dark as we feel. Why bother spreading cheer when our hearts are empty? I chose to go the opposite direction. Rather than horror films I spent the morning I would have been opening presents that never came from a family that’d rather I moved on, I watched some old sci-fi films instead. Even though they are color films from the 80s I watched them desaturated so they looked like old science fiction films from further back still.
I am not celebrating this year. I have nothing to celebrate. As a newly converted Pagan I put up a Yuletide tree and did some rituals related to the Winter Solstice but beyond that my holiday bucket is empty. I found myself desperate to stave off the loneliness by accepting an invitation to a gay couples house for Christmas Dinner from my church. I felt alone so figured sure why not. It was a disaster. I was under dressed, unemployed and too poor for their respect. I also heard snide comments and racist words including the dreaded N Word not once but TWICE during the meal!
Prior to that I attempted to enjoy a trans zoom call for people who are alone for the holiday. I invited my girlfriend along and the both of us ended up leaving as that, too, was kind of a disaster for us. In the end everything I tried to do yesterday to forget I was shunned by my family ended up only making it worse.
In the end this holiday season was no different than any other. A lot of phony smiles dressed up in nostalgia with a ton of sorrow underneath it all topped with major disappointment all around. That’s why I have said all alone Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love me some Gay Christmas on old October 31.