Coming Out for the Holidays?

It’s the time of year when we frequently gather with family for the holidays.  Sometimes we’d rather be with our chosen family than our birth family, largely because we feel we can be more authentic and real.  Often times, we’re asked questions from dear old Aunt Margaret or Cousin Keisha that we may consider nosy, but that’s usually because there’s something we’re trying to hide.  Questions like “Who are you dating?” and “You’re not seeing anyone, a pretty girl like you, what’s wrong with men these days?” can be mildly uncomfortable to excruciating.

Some of you who have accepted your identity but not shared it with others, may be considering coming out for the holidays.  There’s no better way to shut them up at the dinner table than waving a rainbow flag and proclaiming “Aunt Margaret, I’m gay!”  That’s not usually quite the way it works out in reality, of course.  Sometimes we come out by directly announcing that we are gay, and sometimes we choose subtler, but also direct ways of coming out.  What’s your particular style?  Do you want to proclaim it or pass it off as normal conversation?  Here are a couple of scenarios, but the possibilities are endless.

Scenario 1:

Aunt Margaret: “So Jan, who are you dating these days?”

Jan: “Oh, well I’m not seeing anyone seriously, but there’s a girl I like at the Food Co-op I work at in Park Slope.”

Aunt Margaret:  “Oh my, I didn’t know you liked girls.”

Jan: “Me neither, until recently. I guess I always kind of knew…Do you mind passing the gravy?”  (Depending on how close you are with Aunt Margaret, less could be more.)

Scenario 2:

Aunt Margaret: “So Jan, who are you dating these days?”

Jan: “Oh, well I’m not seeing anyone seriously, but I’ve been meaning to tell you all something for awhile now. I’m a lesbian.”

Aunt Margaret:  “Oh my, well what a time to tell us at Thanksgiving!”

Jan: “Well, no time like the present they always say.  And besides, you did ask.”

Which way feels best?  Of course Aunt Margaret could react favorably or unfavorably in either situation.  Your chances of getting a favorable reaction is better when you go into it with as positive an attitude as you can muster, and expect a good response.  There are of course no guarantees, and you need to respect that they may need time to adjust.  Also curious for any transmen out there, how would coming out for you look different?  They may have already adjusted to the fact that you are a woman loving women, but adjusting to you as a man may take even more time.  What do you think is the best way to present this?

Whether you’re ready to come out this holiday or not, write about your favorite scenario in the comment box below!  For those that have already come out, let us know what worked for you.

If you need support, feel free to reach out:



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40-something lesbian life coach, living in Brooklyn.

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