Happy Thanksgiving from our Safe Schools Chosen Family to Yours!
Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude and togetherness, but for many in the queer community, it can also be a challenging period. Navigating family dynamics requires patience, strength, and resilience, especially when faced with members who may not understand or affirm your identity. Here are some tips to help you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
1. Set Boundaries Early
- Prepare: Before attending family gatherings, reflect on your boundaries. Decide what topics you’re comfortable discussing and those you’d prefer to avoid.
- Communicate: If possible, communicate these boundaries to your family in advance. A simple message explaining your comfort levels can set expectations.
2. Defusing Toxic Conversations
- Stay Calm: When faced with challenging conversations, try to maintain composure. Deep breathing can help you remain calm.
- Change the Subject: If a conversation becomes uncomfortable, steer it towards more neutral topics like hobbies, movies, or shared positive experiences.
- Use “I” Statements: Express your feelings without accusation. For example, “I feel hurt when my identity is not respected,” instead of “You don’t respect me.”
3. Maintaining Emotional Well-being
- Practice Self-care: Prioritize your mental health. If you need a break, take a moment for yourself.
- Seek Support: Stay connected with friends or members of the queer community who understand and affirm your experiences.
4. Walking Away When Necessary
- Recognize Limits: It’s okay to remove yourself from conversations or situations that are harmful or unproductive.
- Plan an Exit Strategy: Have a plan in place for leaving a conversation or gathering if needed. This could be a code word with a supportive family member or friend.
5. Having Productive Discussions
- Educate If Appropriate: If you feel safe and it seems productive, share your perspectives and experiences to foster understanding.
- Respect Differences: Sometimes, agreeing to disagree is the healthiest outcome.
As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, remember that you are not alone. Safe Schools stands with you, affirming and seeing you for who you truly are. We are committed to creating a world where everyone’s authentic self is recognized and appreciated. You are valued, your experiences are valid, and your identity is a beautiful part of the diverse tapestry of humanity.
In moments of doubt or loneliness, remember that there is a community that sees you, supports you, and cherishes you. Your presence enriches the world, and your courage in being true to yourself is an inspiration.
Happy Thanksgiving, and may this season bring you moments of peace, joy, and a sense of belonging.
By: Harold Marrero
Chief Operating Officer
We encourage you to share this information with friends, fellow teachers, and allies and join us in bringing awareness to our efforts. Your support is essential for our ongoing work to create safe spaces for all students, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or expression. Please consider donating to Safe Schools so that we can continue advocating for inclusivity and diversity within the education system.