Coping at Christmas as a Young Person Within 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 reasons. One of these reasons might be that your family is not 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 are 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.
Ways You Can Cope
Spend time with pets or animals
One of my favourite things to do is to 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.
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.
Being out in nature and surrounding yourself with new senses is a great time to practice mindfulness to stay in the present moment versus focusing on the details of the argument or toxic environment we may be in.
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. These people can be internet friends or they can be close friends or family who you have told and who you know 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.
For more information, check out How Talking to Someone Can Help.
Reaching Out to Charities or Nonprofits for Additional Support
For UK folx in need, you can reach out in these ways:
- There are the community boards, helpline, and group chats at The Mix
- Samaritans, who you can ring on 116 123. You can also email Jo@samaritans.com 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@example.com
- LGBT Switchboard, who offer a helpline which is open 10am -10pm on 0300 330 0630. There’s an online chat service on their website and an email service which aims to reply within 72 hours – firstname.lastname@example.org
For youth and young adults struggling in the US, you can check out the resources below or visit our crisis support resource page for more options:
The Trevor Project is dedicated to providing crisis counseling for those in the LGBTQ+ community that are considering suicide. All lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people are welcome to call.
- Call 1-866-488-7386 (24/7/365)
Text START to 678678 *(24/7/365)
- Standard text messaging rates apply
Chat online here
Designed to work best on a computer
Wait time can vary—use the Lifeline or text option if urgent
The Trans Lifeline is a suicide hotline for trans-identified individuals. The calls are taken by other trans people and can be used whether or not you’re in crisis.
Available 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. PST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.
Lines for Life is an Oregon-based organization working in the prevention, intervention, and advocacy for suicide, substance abuse, and mental illness. They also host a helpline that is open 24/7/365 where you can speak to highly-trained crisis intervention specialists. Lines for Life Suicide Lifeline and YouthLine after hours is answered by the same adult volunteers and staff that take calls for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
SUICIDE LIFELINE – For those going through a crisis and those concerned for them
Call 1-800-273-8255 (24/7/365)
Text 273TALK to 839863 (8 a.m. to 11 p.m. PST daily)
ALCOHOL & DRUG HELPLINE – For individuals and family members seeking crisis intervention, treatment referral, and chemical-dependency information
Call 1-800-923-4357 (24/7/365)
Text RecoveryNow to 839863 (8 a.m. to 11 p.m. PST daily)
MILITARY HELPLINE – Support for service members, veterans, and their families
Call 1-888-457-4838 (24/7/365)
Text MIL1 to 839863 (8 a.m. to 11 p.m. PST daily)
YOUTHLINE – Support for youth in crisis or when needing help
Text teen2teen to 839863
Email at YouthL@LinesforLife.org
Chat online here
Teens are available to chat with you from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. PST daily, all other times are with adults It’s free and it’s confidential. If there are concerns that you or someone else is in imminent danger, they’ll let you know they’re concerned and ask for your name and address. They will continue to support you but will contact local police and EMS if they believe you won’t be able to keep yourself safe. That being said, Lines for Life aims to be as least invasive as possible and works to support you first and foremost.
The Crisis Text Line offers free, confidential crisis support via text 24/7. Whether you’re feeling suicidal or having a hard time managing strong emotions, a trained volunteer will connect with you and provide support.
- Text HOME to 741741 (24/7/365)
Teen Line allows you to speak with another teen for support and offers resources online that are relevant to teens.
Text TEEN to 839863
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.”
This article was written by Youth Era youth, Aimee, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. They are a young carer with lived experience around anxiety and Asperger’s.
About Youth Era
Youth Era is a nonprofit that works with teens and young adults to become happy, successful, and contributing adults members of their communities. The organization creates solutions for communities across the country that look beyond short-term assistance for the few and toward sustainable support for the many. To learn more, visit www.youthera.org.