How do you identify?
A Bisexual woman.
How has this affected your relationship with your family?
My younger cousins are pretty accepting. I have a couple cousins who are lesbian or gay. It’s the older generation that isn’t accepting. I come from a large Spanish family; where they talk about just anything, but that. My mom always referred to my girlfriends or partners as my friends. She kind of acts like it isn’t true. My father’s side of the family is South African, and extremely religious. We just don’t talk about my sexuality, unless I am with a male partner.
Tell me about your experience visiting family for the holidays.
My family lives across the country, so getting home is hard, but when I do go home, I make the best of it. Both sides of the family are predominantly Christian, so we celebrate Christmas, and various other Catholic festivities during the season.
Are you out to your family. Is your family accepting?
I am, but like I mentioned, the older folks just kind of act like it isn’t real, or it’s just a phase. I’m 38. It is most definitely not a phase.
Anything specific to your family’s ethnic background/culture that makes coming home and being yourself specifically tricky to navigate?
All the religious activities are a bit much for me. My belief system is more pagan based, which is another thing we don’t talk about. I don’t participate too much in the religious stuff at home. But because I am a chef, I help with the cooking. I immerse myself in the food so as to avoid any conflict over my beliefs or my sexuality.
What has been the hardest thing to navigate when coming home for the holidays?
The hardest thing is actually getting there. It’s clear across the country, so I don’t often make it.
How do you establish personal boundaries with family?
We avoid topics like sexuality or religious beliefs. We stick to food, and any other dramatic gossip or scandal that may be happening in the family.
Do you have advice for bringing significant others home to meet family?
In my family, always bring them on a food holiday like Thanksgiving, everyone is too busy eating to make it weird.
Do you have other tips on how to have a happy and healthy holiday?
Try to avoid drinking. I know the holidays are all about celebrating and the alcohol flows freely for the most part, but sometimes, things can get real weird if I’m drinking and feeling repressed around my family…so I just avoid it. I take a good book, make sure I have a designated friend to call if it gets weird. And most of all, its okay to decline an invitation if I don’t think I’m up for it.