The holiday season is upon us! Christmas décor is going up, pies are in the oven, and we're all getting ready to sit down with our families for the much-awaited feast. But with all the family gatherings, come the heavy conversations. One minute you're talking about your mom's stuffing and the next thing you know uncle Bill is making a racist comment and aunt Susan is ranting on about "the gays."
It is a pattern you are WELL used too, but what have you really been doing about it?
This is the year we step up and learn to be a true ally for our LGBTQIA+ friends and friends of color. It's no longer OK to sit back and allow the conversation to happen.
People don't change without conflict. Sure, maybe grandma will get upset, but you know what's worse than upsetting grandma? OPPRESSION!
So here are some thoughts to get you through this Thanksgiving. And also how to make your beliefs known.
1. Wear a bold T-shirt
I'm all for showing up in a "Black Lives Matter" T-shirt or wearing a rainbow LGBT banner across my body. A clear statement piece to let your family know, you will not tolerate bigotry or ugly comments this year.
2. Form alliances early
Inevitably there's going to be some conversations that are uncomfortable and it's going to be impossible to hide your opinions. Know who is going to be on your side and can support what you say.
Maybe it's a quiet relative who likes to stay out of the drama, but it's OK to call them out and ask their opinion knowing they will agree with you. Sometimes people need to see you're not wrong.
3. Bring some statistics
Arm yourself with statistics on the number of unarmed black men/women shot by the police, the number of hate crimes against the LGBTQIA community or the number of murders done by white men in the United States instead of Mexican immigrants.
Prepare yourself with facts that can't be disputed. People cannot argue with numbers.
4. Don't get angry
The more heated you get, the less people will listen to you. Try to remain calm. Some people are going to keep their opinions no matter what.
5. Remember that just because you love someone, that doesn't mean you can't disagree with them.
Sometimes generation gaps matter. You might not be able to change your grandma's mind about things, and it might take some time before your Aunt Judy really hears you. Try to keep calm with them and explain yourself clearly.
6. And if you blow up, do so responsibly
You need to stick by your principles. Hate has no home here. Make it known that people deserve better and that you care about that fact. Make it clear that what is being said is absolutely NOT OK.
And if you need to leave. Do it.
Staying quiet does not protect anyone.
7. When all else fails, have a drink
Let's face it, whether you win or lose, you're GOING to need a drink. Maybe you should have that drink BEFORE dinner to mellow you out. Or to give you some liquid courage to tell your cousin Debbie to shut her trap. Either way, happy drinking!
And, more importantly, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!