| BOWEN MARSHALL
I WAS HAVING a cup of coffee with my friend one Saturday morning. We were chatting about our relationships when out of the blue he asked me, “How do you feel about going home with your boyfriend for Thanksgiving?” I started to answer but then stopped and thought, "Can you go homo for the holidays?" And further, "If you do go homo, just how gay can the holidays be?”
To our surprise and delight, the party could not have gone better. People came, they ate and drank, they “oohed” and “awed” at the house, and, most importantly, they talked. As I moved about the party, they talked about careers, their loved ones, and themselves. There were not Sharks or Jets, just people getting to know one another. At one point while refilling the guacamole, I caught his eye and we smiled at each other; and in that moment I knew that I would be going home with him for the holidays. This party had shown us that we could.
I heard once that being gay is like stepping into a culture without a childhood. I think that is changing for youth today as the average age for coming out is now 16; I also know that for many of us going home means going back. It means going back to a world that knew us before we knew ourselves. This is not to say that these are worlds that can’t change or that we need to abandon, but it can mean we need to prepare ourselves for uninformed or unkind words from those we love.
- I believe that we will get through this. Times may be difficult now, but over time the people who truly care for me will learn to love and treat me better than this.
- I can leave at any time. Showing my or my partner’s family that I care for them does not have to come at the cost of my self and my sense of self-worth.
- The family I have built in my adult life will be here for me when I get back, and I know that we can commiserate and swap war stories to build ourselves back up.
- Going home will never be the same because I am not the same. Both my family and I will have to get to know one another as we are now, and that’s okay too.
- My partner and I are in it together when it comes to our families. We will navigate our homes together and we cannot let things that occur overpower the love we have for one another.
Choosing to go home for the holidays with a partner is a big step for any couple; for those of us navigating the sea of family expectations in a same-sex relationship, the waters can be especially stormy. Be brave, be yourselves, and take safe harbor in the knowledge that going home isn’t your final port. Your life together is.
And hey, if things get really bad, just remember that the “lost ham” that no one can find is actually crammed into your suite case for you to eat your feelings later. Wait, scratch that, because I bet honey glaze doesn’t come out of dress shirts.