Ambassador voices: How to cope with Christmas as a young LGBTQIA+ person

A young person is on their phone in their bedroom at Christmas time. They are wearing the Pride flag colours

Hi, my name is Aimee and I identify as non binary. I use the pronouns they/them. I’m part of the Community Champions and the Services Innovators group. I volunteer with The Mix as I wanted to give back to a charity that helped me so much when I first found them.

Christmas can be difficult if you’re from the LGBTQIA+ community

Christmas is often known as a time for celebrating and spending time with family, but for some people Christmas is often a difficult time, for many reasonsOne of these reasons may be that family might not be accepting of your gender/sexuality and for some people this may cause tension and difficulties. 

As someone who recently came out as non binary to their family and wasn’t accepted for this, I know that Christmas won’t be the same. Although I know Christmas and the festive period is going to be difficult, I also know that I have many healthy ways of coping that I can turn to. Below are some of my favourite things I like to do when I’m overwhelmed or need to remove myself from a situation that is upsetting  

Tips for coping at Christmas as an LGBTQIA+ person

Spend time with pets

One of my favourite things to do is go spend time with my dog, Louie. Spending time with any animal is good for reducing anxiety levels and they are also a great companion to just hug. For me, spending time with Louie makes me feel safe and wanted. I place my hand on his chest and feel it rise and fall to help remind me that I’m here and I’m safe. 

Explore nature 

Another coping skill that can be used is to take yourself for a walk. Often, when an argument has happened, I’m left feeling angry and upset. Being able to escape into nature and just take time for myself is what helps me calm down the best. I like to take long walks in our local woods and often will find a bench halfway round to sit and listen to these sounds around me. The birds, the wind, the sound of crunching leaves – there is just something so calming about them all. 

Engage and build yourself a supportive community

I’ve found that surrounding myself with people who are going through the same thing or who are allies (people who are supportive) of the LGBTQIA+ community has been a massive help for me over these last few weeks. These people can be internet friends or they can be close friend or family who you have told and who will support you.

Being able to message these people through a bad day has helped me to not only process my own feelings but has also taught me that the people who have reacted in a difficult way may also just need time to process their own feelings. 

Reach out to charities to help support you through the festive period

  • There are the community boards, helpline and group chats here at The Mix  
  • Samaritans, who you can ring on 116 116. You can also email [email protected] who will get back to you in 24 hours
  • Shout, which is a crisis text line – 85258
  • Stonewall, who operate a phone line open between 9.30pm -4.30pm. You can call them on 0800 0502020  (due to covid you have to leave a message and they will return the call within 3 working days), or email them at [email protected] 
  • LGBT Switchboard, who offer a helpline which is open 10am -10pm on 0300 330 0630. There’s an online chat service on their website https://switchboard.lgbt and an email service which aims to reply within 72 hours –  [email protected]  

It’s important to remember that regardless of what your family or friend’s reaction may be, that you will always have a community out there somewhere who will support and love you for who you are. One of my favourite quotes is :

“Don’t change for people to like you, be yourself and the right people will love you” 

If you need more support with this issue

Read Emmanuela’s story about coming out to her family during lockdown.

Read our interview with Switchboard LGBT Helpline for advice on exploring your sexuality and dealing with homophobia.

Read our guide to coping with lockdown as a young LGBTQIA+ person.

Read Aimee’s guide to coping with Christmas as a young LGBTQIA+ person.

Next Steps

  • Stonewall campaign for the equality of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people across Britain and abroad.
  • LGBT Youth Scotland has lots of great advice articles about LGBT issues, as well as running supportive live chats online. Text on 07786 202 370.
  • Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline offers a range of help services for the LGBT community, including message boards and a helpline. 0300 330 0630
  • Queer Youth Network gives you the opportunity to meet and chat with other LGBT young people online.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Holly Turner

Updated on 16-Dec-2020

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