5 Tips to Enjoy the Holidays After You've Come Out

Young cheerful man with gift box, full length portrait of attrac

By, Meredith Jenkins


1.     Know Your Worth 
You came out of the closet for a reason—to be your true self! Now that it’s the holiday season, there’s no need to jump back into the closet and pretend that you’re someone else. Being out means that you are your authentic self 365 days a year, including during the holidays. Other than embracing your true self, nothing else has changed. Your family is still your family. Your work colleagues are still your work colleagues. And your friends are still your friends. Whether they choose to accept you for who you are is up to them. It’s not about you.


2.     Don’t Let People Get Under Your Skin
At some holiday function this season, someone is bound to say something derogatory about you being “different.” If/when this happens, take the high road and do the following: 1) let it go and ask them, “Is that you talking or the alcohol?” or 2) politely let them know you’d love to chat with them about their issue with your sexuality or gender identity at a more appropriate time and place. Don’t let a catty insult or drunken barb ruin the festivities. Be the bigger person and make sure that the yuletide is gay… for everyone.


3.     Know Your Boundaries 
You might encounter people who are very curious about you now that you’re out of the closet. You might get some very awkward, but (hopefully) well-meaning, questions from people who are genuinely curious. Before you engage with these people, determine if sharing personal information will enhance or hinder your relationship with them. Perhaps opening yourself up to them at a holiday party is the ideal time and place to build stronger relationships. Or, perhaps these personal queries can better be addressed at a more appropriate time and place. The choice is up to you. But before you open your mouth, think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. Whatever you do, be sure to be respectful of yourself, the person asking the question, other guests and the host.


4.     Don’t be Gluttonous or a Lush
To calm your nerves at your first holiday gathering after coming out, you may be tempted to down a gallon of eggnog or hover over the buffet table rather than engage other guests. You can’t let your fears dictate your actions. If you do experience negativity from others, don’t let it get you down—their insults are really just manifestations of their own insecurities and/or ignorance.


5.     Embrace the Spirit of the Season
No matter what you believe in or how you celebrate the holidays, this time of year is all about peace, love and joy. Instill these three words in your mind, your intentions and your reason for celebrating. Remember, it’s easier to celebrate the spirit of the season when you’re being your authentic self.