Change the World

5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays if Your Family Voted for Trump

Did your family vote for Trump? Feeling betrayed, depressed, hurt, angry, or scared? Finding it difficult to imagine being with your family of origin during the holidays?

This presidential election has certainly brought out the worst in people and in our political institutions. It has shined a huge spotlight on the misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, Islamophobia and xenophobia that continues to exist in the United States.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has accumulated over 400 incidents of increased hateful harassment and intimidation in the first five days after the election and the top three types were against blacks, immigrants and the LGBTQ community. Trump’s demeaning rhetoric has ignited the unresolved bigotry and fear of those not wanting to lose power and privilege.

For LGBTQ people, having historically been neglected, despised, and scapegoated by society-at-large, our collective trauma this election season is palpable. Furthermore, our sexual orientation and gender identity intersects with our race, religion, class, body shape/size/ability, age, and other aspects of who we are that can exponentially trigger experiences of trauma and micro-aggressions against our very beingness. If we are members of multiple oppressed groups we feel these injustices in multiple ways.

If your family voted for Trump, despite his campaign promises that deleteriously impact us, it can leave you feeling emotionally raw and wounded. This lack of unconditional love and support from the people we’ve known the longest and are suppose to be there in these moments is incomprehensible.

Many of us have received calls to give Trump and his white supremacist cabinet a chance, that it won’t be as bad as we fear, that this is part of the democratic process, that they voted for economic changes and are not prejudiced and yet we’ve mostly received very little, if any, actual empathy for what we’ve been forced to endure then and now.

It’s not okay for family to support our oppressors in discriminating against us. And it’s not our job to make family feel more comfortable with their own bigotry. We deserve to have family that will fight with us to protect us from our oppressors and to advance social justice, not sit idly by or encourage us to be passive in response.

So, how do we survive the holidays?

If you’ve reached your limit, are feeling too pummeled by it all, or don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way, the answer may be to spend quality time alone or with your family of choice, instead of with your family of origin. Because LGBTQ people usually don’t come from our own, and we live in a heterosexist and cisgenderist world, it’s been important to create our own family of support. This holiday season might be especially important to spend time with trustworthy like-minded souls who share your political beliefs and values. Giving ourselves the time we need to recover, heal and strengthen our internal resolve to affect positive change in the world is necessary. Choosing this option can be about prioritizing self-preservation at this time.

However, depending on your circumstances, you may decide to spend the holidays with your family of origin. They may be tolerant but not supportive, or friendly but not knowledgeable. Or, they may be situationally hostile. You have a choice whether to initiate or participate in political conversations. You have a choice whether to change the subject, request the conversation end or walk away. There is no one perfect way to respond in all scenarios. It’s case specific.

One of the unenviable aspects of being an oppressed minority, or a disenfranchised majority (aka women), is that we often are placed in the position of having to educate others about our oppression. This can be particularly degrading with family of origin when we hear all around us that “blood is thicker than water” and “family will be there no matter what.” And yet, here we are needing to educate our family about our differences. This is another reason to be thankful for our allies and to be a good ally for others who are different than us. Allies can do some of this important work for us and with us.

Speaking to our family about their vote for Trump, and all that this vote entails, puts us in a very precarious position. Despite our best efforts, the conversation may easily slip into character attacks and hurt feelings. We may unearth sentiments we previously were unaware of. However, confronting this potential conflict can also bring greater understanding and closeness with those open enough and empathic enough to understand how we’re affected by their actions.

5 Tips for Navigating Conversations With Trump-Supporting Family Members:

  • Make “I statements” instead of attacking others—“I feel hurt that you voted for…”
  • State the facts without the moral judgments—“I feel betrayed that you voted for someone who has promised to elect Supreme Court Justices that will reverse marriage equality, selected a VP who has actively discriminated against people like me, promotes conversion therapy, etc…”
  • Listen mindfully to what they have to say instead of what your response will be.
  • Empathize with them—This does not require you to agree, like or respect their actions/beliefs.
  • Make direct requests NOT demands – “Given what I’ve shared and how your vote directly impacts my well-being, I need you to vote differently next time and in the meantime to confront homophobia/biphobia/transphobia when you hear it and to take specific actions to protect my safety and well-being (i.e. donations to social justice organizations, letter-writing, signing petitions, sharing information, volunteering, demonstrations, other non-violent resistance strategies etc).”
  • At the end of the day, no matter how well you articulate your feelings and needs, they may be unwilling to meet them. If your relationship with them is consistently hostile or unsupportive, you may need to set firmer boundaries, including the option of having no contact for a period of time.

    Treat yourself with the compassion and care that you would like to have from them. Surround yourself with kindred souls to replenish your emotional reserves. Be a good ally for others. And remember the famous words by Howard Zinn, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.” This Trump train has left the building and is careening toward destruction. Neutrality is complicit with oppression. We must act up and fight for social justice!

    Editor's note: This article was originally published in THE FIGHT magazine and is re-published here with permission.

    Show Comments ()

    Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

    Keep reading... Show less
    Change the World

    10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

    Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

    Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

    #1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner


    Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

    #2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

    After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

    #3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

    We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

    #4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

    Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

    #5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

    Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

    #6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

    Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

    #7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

    Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

    #8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

    In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

    #9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

    "I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

    #10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

    Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

    Change the World

    Single Gay Man Adopts Girl Passed Over by 20 Previous Families

    Luca Trapanese, a gay dad from Naples, Italy, adopted a baby with Down syndrome who had been rejected twenty times previously

    Luca Trapanese, a single 41-year-old gay man from Naples, Italy, had always wanted to become a dad. But in Italy, it was only legal for married heterosexual couples to adopt until 2017. Even then, he was told that he'd only be able to adopt a "hard to place" child, with mental or physical challenges.

    "They told me that they would only give me sick children, with severe disabilities, or with behavioral problems," he told the BBC in an interview. "I was absolutely ok with that."

    And that's how Alba, a little girl with Down syndrome, came into his life. Abandoned at birth, she had been passed over by 20 separate families before Luca was approached about providing her a home. Luca, who has worked and volunteered with people with disabilities from a young age, readily agreed.

    "I'm proud to be her father," Luca said. "Alba was never a second option because she had a disability. I wanted her to be my daughter."

    Listen to the entire interview here.

    Surrogacy for Gay Men

    A Dream Becomes Reality, After a Men Having Babies Conference

    New Yorkers David and Brian said their dreams of fatherhood crystalized only after receiving a "ton of information" at a Men Having Babies conference.

    New Yorkers David F.M. Vaughn 39, and Brian Becker, 37, are new dads. Over the past three months, the two most important things they've learned as fathers is "patience, and how to swaddle LIKE A CHAMP!" David and Brian chose surrogacy as their path to fatherhood, but making that decision was one of the more difficult parts of their journey. Brian's siblings are adopted, and while they still want to make adoption part of their family journey, certain opportunities arose that made their surrogacy decision easier. Brian's sister enthusiastically offered to be their gestational surrogate, and they discovered more about the process with the help of Men Having Babies (MHB).

    But let's jump back to the beginning of their story.

    Keep reading... Show less
    Foster/Foster-Adopt

    Your Foster Adopt Questions Answered by a Foster Adopt Dad

    We asked our Instagram community to send us their questions about being a foster dad — and an experienced foster dad responded.

    Dad Joseph Bostick (read his story here) recently shared his experience as a foster and adoptive dad with our Instagram community via a question and answer session - did you feel nervous at the beginning? How did you start the process? Did you always know that you wanted to foster older kids?

    Read Joseph's responses below.

    Keep reading... Show less

    Gay Surrogacy in the U.S. for International Dads

    Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy breaks down the process of surrogacy for gay men outside of the United States

    Written by Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, who has been helping international gay men become dads for over two decades.

    Becoming a gay dad through a surrogacy agency in the U.S. – when you live outside of the United States – can feel overwhelming. You may have questions such as: Why should I come all the way to the US for surrogacy? What do I need to know as an international intended parent? How do I get my baby home?

    We spoke with Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation who has been working with international gay parents for over two decades. Circle Surrogacy was founded by a gay dad and lawyer, and is the most successful surrogacy agency with a full legal team on staff who are experts working with international parents.

    Keep reading... Show less
    Coming Out

    My Gay Shame Is Officially Cancelled

    After years of feeling ashamed of being gay, David Blacker has finally overcome it. And his son had a lot to do with it.

    Scrolling through my social media feeds, reading all the posts about National Coming Out Day reminds me just how valuable it is for us to share our stories and be as open, vulnerable and authentic as possible. Warning: this article is about to get real AF, so now might be a good time to switch back to the Face-Aging app that gives Russia all your personal data.

    Oh good, you stayed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

    Keep reading... Show less

    Fatherhood, the gay way

    Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

    Follow Gays With Kids

    Powered by RebelMouse