I have been asked by many people why I would even consider staying in the office over the holiday period. I could have a nice break, put my feet up, stuff myself with rich, indulgent foods and take a break from the office.
For some trans+ people not seeing family is a huge load off their shoulders. For many, it may be the opposite.
I’ll take my break after the new year (I have some annual leave booked) – I know that the service we provide is so important to the people we support.
This year, not only do many trans+ people have the potential stress of being around family who don’t accept them, they also have huge extra limits placed on seeing chosen family – that is to say, they won’t be seeing friends.
In the queer community we have always built other family networks, through choice or necessity. We band together with others who understand, whether the same as us or a different part of the LGBT+ spectrum.
We need the role models, the peers and the understanding that many of us don’t get from our ‘real’ families (‘blood’ and ‘birth’ families excludes anyone adopted and some step families but I can’t think of a better way to put it as I know many families don’t like being referred to as our ‘families of accident’)
My husband and I have Sara, or the ‘Venerable Elder Lesbian’ as we call her (and she deliberately mishears as ‘vulnerable elderly lesbian) and we’re guncles (gay uncles) to some younger queers.
Doesn’t that sound much more supportive than the father who says all queers are paedophiles or the aunt who tells a trans woman that she’ll never really know what it’s like to be a woman?
So here I sit in my home office in case someone who can’t see their chosen family, their queer peers needs that little bit of space and a supportive ear on the phone.
If you know someone who’s hurting, send them my way. I’m choosing to be here in case they need me.