The importance of queer joy at Christmas
The festive season is a wonderful time to celebrate queer joy and its significance to the LGBTQ+ community. Christmas is a time for love, togetherness, and merriment. Queer joy aids us in embracing our true selves. This article will explore what queer joy is, why it is vital, the obstacles faced by LGBTQ+ people during Christmas, and provide practical resources and ideas to help navigate the festive season.
Defining queer joy and its significance
Queer joy is the profound and authentic happiness that arises from fully embracing our identities as queer people. It is the celebration of our existence, experiences and resilience in the face of adversity. Queer joy is important because it allows us to reclaim our narratives, challenge societal norms and affirm our right to live and love as our authentic selves.
When we practice queer joy, we create spaces that promote self-acceptance, foster connection, and empower others to embrace their identities. This transformative force empowers us to be our truest selves and reject the shame and stigma that can persist.
Challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community during Christmas
The holiday season is a wonderful time for many, but it can be challenging for lots of us, including members of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s important to recognise the positive and negative experiences we face during this time. Many of us are fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends who love and accept us just as we are. We also have the opportunity to celebrate with our chosen families and participate in inclusive events that build community and acceptance. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky.
Some common issues include:
- Family acceptance: Not all LGBTQ+ people have supportive families. Coming out or being open about their identities can lead to rejection, misunderstanding, or strained relationships during holiday gatherings.
- Misgendering and deadnaming: Transgender and non-binary individuals may face misgendering and deadnaming from family members, which can be hurtful and invalidating. This can cause distress and create a sense of isolation during the festive period.
- Lack of inclusive language and traditions: Many holiday traditions and language can be gendered or assume heteronormativity, leaving LGBTQ+ individuals feeling excluded or unable to fully participate. It can be challenging to find inclusive spaces or celebrations that embrace LGBTQ+ identities.
- Isolation and loneliness: Some LGBTQ+ individuals may not have close relationships with their families or may have distanced themselves due to a lack of acceptance. This can result in feelings of isolation and loneliness during a time when gatherings and connections are emphasised.
- Pressure to conform: LGBTQ+ individuals may feel pressure to conform to societal expectations, such as presenting as cisgender and heterosexual, to avoid judgement or criticism during family gatherings or social events.
- Religious discrimination: For LGBTQ+ individuals who are religious, there may be conflicts between their faith and their sexual or gender identity. This can create inner turmoil or external judgment from religious communities during religiously oriented holiday celebrations.
- Mental health challenges: The holiday season can exacerbate feelings of anxiety, depression and stress for many individuals, including LGBTQ+ people. Coping with these challenges can be particularly difficult without a strong support network or access to LGBTQ+-affirming resources.
It is important to acknowledge and address these issues, provide support, and create inclusive spaces and experiences during the Christmas season.
Support during Christmas
There are numerous resources and organisations in the UK dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ individuals and promoting queer joy during Christmas.
Here are some UK-based support organisations and events:
- Stonewall – The leading LGBTQ+ charity in the UK, Stonewall works to empower and support LGBTQ+ individuals. They offer resources, campaigns, and education to create inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people.
- Mermaids – A charity supporting transgender and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families. Mermaids provides helpline services, support groups, and educational resources to empower trans and non-binary individuals.
- LGBT Foundation – A national organization that provides support, health services, and community groups for LGBTQ+ individuals in the UK. They are committed to promoting inclusive health and well-being.
- Switchboard – A helpline for LGBTQ+ people in need of confidential support, information, and advice. They offer a listening ear and can provide guidance on a wide range of topics.
- UK black pride – Europe’s largest celebration of LGBTQ+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern heritage. UK Black Pride creates a safe and joyful space for intersectional LGBTQ+ individuals.
- Queer black Christmas – Queer Black Christmas is Exist Loudly’s annual Christmas celebration for Black LGBTQ+ young people from London, who are experiencing homelessness, living in temporary accommodation or hostile home environments.
- Regard – Regard raises awareness, offers support and combats social isolation for LGBTQ disabled people. They follow the Social Model of Disability, which believes society must remove systematic barriers that deny disabled people equal inclusion and rights.
Celebrating queer joy
To practice queer joy during Christmas, consider the following:
- Surround yourself with chosen family and supportive friends who celebrate and affirm your LGBTQ+ identity.
- Create your own traditions and Christmas rituals.
- Engage in activities that bring you joy and allow you to express yourself authentically, such as attending LGBTQ+ events or joining queer-friendly community groups.
- Indulge in anything that channels queer energy, look for your vibration of queerness in media, books and YouTube. Celebrate it.
- Seek out LGBTQ+ -inclusive religious or spiritual communities that can provide a sense of belonging during the holiday season.
- Take time for self-care and prioritise your mental and emotional well-being.
- Share your queer joy with others by supporting LGBTQ+ artists, businesses, and creators.
Make the Yuletide gay
Queer joy at Christmas is a powerful affirmation of LGBTQ+ identities and a rejection of societal norms that seek to diminish them. Proactively channelling queer joy can help create a more inclusive and celebratory holiday season.
Let us use this Christmas as an opportunity to embrace and practice queer joy, create spaces of acceptance and empower LGBTQ+ individuals. By celebrating our identities, supporting one another and spreading queer joy, we contribute to a world where everyone can live and love as their authentic selves.
Please note that the resources and organisations mentioned above are based in the UK and offer valuable support for LGBTQ+ individuals. However, it is recommended to conduct further research to ensure they are suitable for individual needs.