The holidays can be rough for anyone. However, imagine navigating the holidays after being ostracized by your friends and family. This is a reality for many transgender people.
I am one of the fortunate ones, partly because I came out later in life, and partly because I have an amazing group of friends and family. I won’t be alone during the holidays because my friends and I always gather together for Thanksgiving and Christmas each year. Occasionally, I’ll even make the trek to my home state of Illinois and celebrate Christmas with the family I have there.
So many transgender people don’t have those options. Many remain hidden, miserable within their own skin, afraid to come out for fear of being rejected by their friends and family. Others, who do take that courageous step to start living their authentic selves, and begin to transition socially and medically, often do face the very rejection they always feared.
If you know someone who is transgender and not able to spend the holidays with family or friends, consider inviting them to join you for the holidays. Whether you plan to have a large gathering or were also going to be alone, letting them know they are welcome would likely mean the world to them. Even if they decide not to accept, knowing that someone wanted to spend time with them during the holidays can help them feel less alone.
If you are attending someone else’s celebrations instead, ask if your transgender friend or acquaintance would also be welcome, although make sure you have their permission to let others know they are transgender first. If you are unable to bring them with, maybe celebrate with them on a different day. Invite them over for a meal or just drinks. Let them know someone cares about them.
So many transgender people, especially when they first come out, suffer rejection and loneliness. Before they came out, they were miserable, trapped inside bodies that didn’t fit how they viewed themselves. After coming out, they are often equally miserable because of the amount of fear and rejection they face in society.
The true spirit of the holidays, regardless of which one you celebrate, is in showing the gift of kindness. It doesn’t cost much to spend a little time with someone who would otherwise be alone.