An avid BWQ reader herself, A. Rose Bi proudly identifies as a bisexual woman. She currently lives in New England with her cat who loves to sleep on her lap while she spends most of her time watching TV and playing videogames. In addition to being an out bi woman, A. has a degree in Cognitive Science, has completed trainings for LGBTQ+ and sexual assault survivor advocacy, and has experience answering calls for an anonymous LGBTQ+ help line. She is passionate about feminism, the bi+ community, LGBTQ+ and female representation in the media, and helping others.
A. Rose Bi’s column relies on questions from readers like you! You can send any questions you may have or suspect other readers may have to the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by posting on the Bi Women’s Quarterly’s facebook group. All questions are anonymous, nothing is off-limits, and anything related to upcoming issue topics is extra-encouraged!
Dear A. Rose Bi,
I moved away from my hometown a few years ago and I’ve always gone home for the holidays. But recently, whenever I go home, it’s been more stressful than relaxing. As the only queer person in my family, it’s tough to feel like I can completely be myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come out to my family and they’re very accepting, but it’s not something they seem eager to talk about or maybe don’t know how to talk about? My sister said she thinks it’s because our other siblings and our parents are worried about saying the wrong thing.
How do I help my family become more comfortable with who I am?
Home for the Holidays
Dear Home for the Holidays,
What you’re going through is a very relatable experience for a lot of people who grow up and move away from their families, but it’s an especially universal experience for those of us who are queer. I’m going to steal a quote from Gaby Dunn’s Instagram about going back home: “You’re dealing with a bunch of different personalities all thrown together and the only tie is blood and maybe some shared experiences—good and bad.”
But I know that hearing that other people experience the same thing doesn’t necessarily help. You have a few options. (1) You could try talking to your family about how isolated this makes you feel. Educate them, let them know that you understand they’re learning and will sometimes put their foot in their mouth, but that it’s important to you that they try. (2) If you have queer friends, leverage them. Hang out with them, text them, or call them when being with your family feels suffocating. Self-care— especially with family and especially during the holidays—is so important. Don’t feel bad about needing time for yourself to feel sane and happy. (3) Consider limiting the amount of time you spend at home. Instead of going home for a long period of time at the holidays when things are stressful, maybe go home a few weekends throughout the year when you’ll have time to talk and spend time together. And this way, you might get more quality time with your family, which it sounds like they would appreciate.
No matter what, remember that it’s okay to make decisions for your own mental health, well-being, and happiness. Families and holidays can often make us feel guilty about not doing what our parents want or what we feel we should be doing. I want to remind you that you are important, and you’re allowed to put yourself first.
A. Rose Bi.
P.S. If you’re unfamiliar with Gaby Dunn, she is an out bisexual poly comedian—you can find her on Instagram at @gabyroad.