Thoughts on Thanksgiving/an LGBT Perspective

Thanksgiving is a special time of the year when most people gather with friends and family to celebrate their connection to one another and to give thanks for their many blessings. For some LGBT members it can be a very lonely and even depressing time.

As a gay man and an LGBT advocate I would urge my fellow straight allies to take a moment this week and do two things. First, seek out an LGBT individual and let them know you care. For an individual who has been shunned by their family or ridiculed by others for their sexuality the holidays can be anything but festive. Be a voice of acceptance and listen to their story.

It is regrettable that thousands of LGBT teens are forced to leave home or runaway when they come out. For them, this Thanksgiving won’t be filled with laughter, turkey and football, but will be a struggle to survive on the unforgiving streets of our Cities and towns.

Many more LGBT adults come out only to encounter constant tension and anxiety by loved ones who consistently belittle or degrade them. They sit at the Thanksgiving table but would much rather be under it. It is no fun to share this special holiday only to be on the receiving end of whispers, stares and snickers from those you love and those you thought loved you.

The second thing I will ask you to do is seek a way to make a difference. Although we have come a long way in our quest for equality there are still many who are bullied to death or shamed into a life of isolation. Donate some time working with LGBT youth. Let them see that there is a future for them and there are people who will be right there with them fighting for justice and equality for all.

If that is not your cup of tea then contact your local PFLAG, LGBT Democrats group or equality seeking organization and give them a donation. Your gift of a couple dollars will go a long way in helping those who are on the outside looking in this holiday season. It might just help save a life.

As we gather with our friends and family members this week, please say a special prayer or whisper a word of support for your gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered family members, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens. Thanksgiving should be about sharing love and acceptance with all people. So my friends….. Pass the turkey and remember to be thankful for all your blessings, because not everyone is as fortunate as you and I.

Comments

Thank you for this

It's too easy to become insulated on Thanksgiving and I would have gone through the holiday without reflecting on these issues if you hadn't posted this -- so thank you!

I will do my level best to accomplish both actions you've noted. And the prayer and remembering that we're very blessed are guaranteed.

Thanks.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

Silence is dangerous

When people argue over politics during the holidays, it can get a little heated and some feelings might be hurt. But at the end of the day, nobody goes away feeling like they're no longer "wanted" by the family. It's not the same thing for those who suffer from bigotry.

There may only be one outspoken bigot in the mix, making barely-veiled comments and jokes about somebody's sexuality. But when those comments go unchallenged by the rest of the family (or friends), it can have the effect of making it seem like everybody feels that way, to a certain extent. And a lot of times the true goal of the bigot is to make their target feel so uncomfortable he or she will avoid future gatherings.

Those who sit on the sidelines might be able to convince themselves they had nothing to do with the issue, but remaining silent is not "doing nothing", it is an active role, and a shameful one at that. I don't say it's easy to confront bigotry in this environment. These people aren't strangers, and you know you'll be around them again and again as the years go by. And that makes it even more important to speak out early, so that future gatherings might be less uncomfortable and more joyous for a member of your family who, maybe more than all others, needs such a refuge.

Here's a thought for you to think, or even say out loud if you feel frisky: "I won't be silent, anymore."