TW: Suicide, familial abuse, mogaiphobia.
This time of year is not always good to us. While there are those of us who won the lottery when it came to family many of us are stuck spending one of the biggest celebrations in our culture either surrounded by people who at best don’t understand them or alone, having been rejected over gender, sexuality or both. Even for those coming from traditions that don’t celebrate Christmas, for the rejected the (at least!) month long bombardment from every form of media about family love being the heart of Christmas can still serve as a vicious reminder of what’s been lost.
Robin Rice runs a project called Your Holiday Mom where every year forty or so parents and friends write open letters to the members of the LGBT+ community whose families have rejected them, inviting them to spend Christmas with them in spirit. Most of the writers are the parents or siblings of LGBT+ people and, in addition to the letters, they also respond to questions on the project’s tumblr account, offering emotional support and advice as well as posting the occasional present like a free meditation app. I caught up with Robin earlier in the month to ask her more about the project. Though not a member of the LGBT+ community herself she was raised by a gay father, and she also lost her brother to suicide because he feared he too was gay. This makes Your Holiday Mom an intensely personal project for her because when she saw how high the suicide statistics for MOGAI people are, and when she saw how many were still being rejected by their families she felt that she had to do something.
Though she uses the LGBTQ acronym on the site she tells us that the letters and community are also for asexuals as well as cross orientation aligned persons and bisexuals in different gendered relationships, because she knows that they’re marginalised too and how isolating it can be to be rejected by more than one community that’s supposed to welcome you.
I asked her if she had a parting message for our readers and she left us with this: “I think my number one thing I’d like to say to anyone whose actually considering suicide; this is something that is very close to me and thirty years later it still hurts me, so if there’s any sense that the world would be better off without them they’re wrong, and I hope they choose to live because I think the world needs diversity and needs them. Beyond that everyone has a journey to be on and I think some journeys are harder than others but every journey can be survived and turned into something beautiful if you’ll be who you are.”
If you’ve had a bad or lonely Christmas, or even if you just want to see a reminder that there are good people in the world who accept and welcome us, you should check out the letters at Your Holiday Mom.