How To Survive the Holidays as an LGBTQIA+ Youth

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.

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. 

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

You Are Loved

Reaching Out to Charities/Non-profits for Additional Support

For UK folx in need, you can reach out in these ways:

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.

  • TREVORLIFELINE

    • Call 1-866-488-7386 (24/7/365)
  • TREVORTEXT

    Text START to 678678 *(24/7/365)

    • Standard text messaging rates apply
  • TREVORCHAT

    • 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.

  • LIFELINE

    • Call 1-877-565-8860

    • 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

    • Call 1-877-968-8491

    • 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 LINE

    • Text HOME to 741741 (24/7/365)

I’m Alive Chat is an entirely online chat platform with all of their volunteers trained and certified in crisis intervention.

  • ONLINE CHAT

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline gives 24/7, free & confidential suicide crisis intervention support and resources to those in need.

Teen Line allows you to speak with another teen for support and offers resources online that are relevant to teens.

  • CRISIS LINE

    • Call 1-800-852-8336

    • Text TEEN to 839863

ULifeline is a mental health resource center for college students.

  • CRISIS LINE – For immediate support

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. 

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