I drew a X-mas tree for all to see... MUAHAHAHA! Mew :3 I don't have a normal awesome art program at the moment so I did this in Microsoft Paint. LOLZ :3

I guess with it being the holiday season I figured this was a subject worth tackling, as well as some other related issues.  Being GLBT around the holidays can be one of the most depressing, disappointing, and even the most dangerous time of year for your mental health.  Many of us end up cut off from the family and friends networks we enjoyed before coming out, especially for those of us who came out as adults.  The holiday seasons for us is often a cold reminder of how fucked up people can be.  I am limited and cut off to many degrees, and can really kill the joy the holiday seasons can have.  Thinking about not being able to visit family over hatred, or thinking about not being able to step foot in your hometown for fear of discrimination, oppression, even violence can make you down on its own.  Yes, the holidays, especially Christmas can be a poignant reminder of how unfriendly the world is if you are GLBT.  It affects you and whomever your partner may be.  There are many places as a GLBT couple that you can’t go as a couple and be treated with respect, and as always you must take special considerations when you go on vacations.

As a transgender person, I especially understand how scary that can be.  Many states still don’t have laws protecting my status, and as such I am reluctant to go any place without such provisions.  It’s a very insular sensation to think about how frightful it is to travel to other states considering the prospects of being assaulted or arrested with no resources for using public accommodation.  Although I am sure there are some with differing opinions, I am sure that most people don’t think twice about my gender there is still a risk.  I am lucky in those regards that I pass okay enough to make most people reluctant to call it, if they even notice.  People often over-estimate how much people are paying attention, but unless you are drawing undue attention to yourself you could have bright red hair and not have people clock you.  However, this isn’t true for everyone and goes far beyond just transgender people.  Many gay, lesbian, and bisexual people have “non-traditional” images of gender that could make them a target.  I have heard of butch lesbians getting pulled aside for questioning for using the women’s restroom, and other things of the sort.  I may be transgender, but I think my form of gender expression is rather “average” but for less intentional reasons.  I like long hair, getting my nails done et cetera so I have a pretty typical gender expression though I tend to see it as just being idiosyncratic.

Winter can be the lonely season waiting for the spring. Winter is the time of the year we need the ones we love the most. Personally, I'd say it's the most difficult time of the year to be alone.

I don’t dress how I do to fit it, though to some degrees I dress to fit my body type.  Anyhow, the point is that GLBT people have particularly hard times around the holidays, whether it be a result of family ties, or social grievances.  Heteronormative culture that is supported by cissexism, and heterosexism often remains unaware of the harm it causes to anyone who is different.  So I guess, to a degree it is easy to understand how some of us could be rather (Grinch-like) around the holidays.  Many of us lose entire networks of friends, and the freedom to visit family who disapprove of our “choices” that aren’t a choice.  Facing the holidays alone was the hardest thing I have ever done since transitioning.  I do have people who care about me that holiday visits can occur with, many of which are no less family to me, but you still experience the loss when the holidays come around.  There is nothing that can really fill that void left by people who dissent with the person they see you as, verses who you are.  As a result depression, anxiety, even substance abuse can spike around the holidays for GLBT persons.  It’s all the more important why each person needs a support network around the holidays, mainly to mitigate the stresses that seem so much greater when you are GLBT around major holidays you are accustomed to celebrating.

Support networks can make the difference between a bad holiday season, and one filled with light and joy.  But building a support net isn’t always easy to do, or available to all.  It’s why as a community GLBT person need to band together, because knowing how isolated our brothers and sisters can be can give us the opportunity to have a profound impact on the lives of other GLBT persons.  It is all the more crucial that we are there for each other on these cold winter nights, as friends and family to those who have lost so much.  Not every story or situation is the same, but each person can do their part to help bring the joy back to the holidays for those who suffer along side them in a world that doesn’t understand them.  GLBT centers can be a good source of support for those with little support elsewhere to give them that little emotional boost through the potential emotional turmoil faced by GLBT people, especial during the holidays.  I know how difficult it can be, and why such things are helpful more than you know.

Nothing says happy holiday like a Cat-in-a-box! Makes me really want a kitty, and that makes me sad. Stupid Apartment complex and the "No Pets" rule. Mmm, grr.

Also discrimination can hit particularly hard during the holiday season, everything from discrimination during the holiday shopping, to being treated poorly while X-mas shopping with your loved ones.  It hits hardest this time of year because it can really take the wind out of your sails of holiday spirit.  Discrimination is hardly gone in our world, and the religious can sometimes take particular zeal in making GLBT feel bad over the holidays.  Some people may be non-religious, but celebrate Christmas or something similar out of tradition and receive backlash for it from others, and from the religious.  Before I had time in transition, my hair grown out, and a decent amount of hormone therapy under my belt X-mas shopping was rather, tedious.  People could more easily tell, and as a result were more reluctant to help me, or show me “too much” courtesy, and I could tell they were doing it.  Also evangelists can be particularly annoying this time of year, as they are more convinced than normal that it is their “RIGHT” to “SAVE” you, though you don’t need it.  All of this contributes to the feelings of alienation and isolation that makes the holidays hard on GLBT people.

So if you know and support a GLBT person in your life either as a brother, sister, other, or just someone compassionate to their plight I urge you to open your hearts to them.   Do something nice to help them feel the spirit of this holiday season.  Even if they decline, or just don’t feel that holiday spirit this season its good to know that someone cares.  Both as a community and as fellow human beings just show your compassion for those who aren’t so fortunate, who are isolated and alone simply for being who they are.  And with that, I wish all my GLBT Seasons greeting to my brothers and sisters out there and I hope that all of you can have a great holiday season.

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