The holidays always bring a strange mix of anxiety and cheer. Bringing a transexual girlfriend home for the holidays can be exciting and nerve wracking. Our families embarrass us, and we’re not sure how she’ll be received, or if she’ll have a good time.
Christmas or other seasonal holidays are stressful, but they’re a great opportunity to bond. Remember these five things and your holiday will go smoothly!
5 Things to Remember when You Bring Her Home
1. Don’t just show up with your transgender girlfriend when your family doesn’t know you’re seeing anybody, never mind that she’s a t-girl.
There’s a lot of back and forth in the trans world debating the need for full disclosure. Some feel it’s transphobic to expect that her trans status should be mentioned at all, ever. Since trans women are women, period, there isn’t anything to say.
Not everyone feels that way, though, and I’m with the trans women and allies who believe there are occasions when it is relevant. I think there’s nothing to be ashamed of or to cover up. It’s a simple fact that your girlfriend is transgender.
Families can be old fashioned, and they don’t want to be confused or feel foolish by making a mistake. It’s better to support them by helping to explain things. Another important reason for disclosure is that you can monitor reactions in advance.
If Aunt Mathilde keeps reading Hello without looking up from some royal wedding, she doesn’t give a rat’s arse. But if your big brother starts yelling derogatory slurs at you, then you know it might be best to keep her away from him. You get to gauge the whole situation without putting her into the midst of something volatile.
2. Instruct your family in advance on how to conduct themselves.
You don’t have to be prickly about it, but let them know in no uncertain terms that no abuse or transphobia will be tolerated.
Be helpful, letting your folks know how to address her or what’s appropriate to say and do. Tell them about her preferred pronouns and anything else they need to know. Give them gift ideas that are suitable. Make them comfortable by equipping them with the information they need.
3. Don’t apologize for your family.
Don’t apologize for or insult your family or act embarrassed by them. They are the same people, filled with qualities that both annoy and inspire. They aren’t perfect either.
Don’t act as if there’s some kind of war or as if you have to choose between them. You want her to become a part of the family, not apart from it! Stand firm in support of your TS girlfriend, and protect her from outright bigotry, but other than that, be neutral. Let your grandma be who she is, and both of you be yourselves too.
4. Stand up for her no matter what.
While you can and should be loving to your imperfect family, if anything goes terribly wrong, your trans girlfriend needs to know that you will stand with her and protect her.
It’s your job, not hers, to deflect bullying, intervene on her behalf, and to leave if necessary. Don’t have her wondering whether you’ll defend her honor or not.
5. Bring wine, allergy-friendly foods, etc. to have and to share.
Even if you told your family she’s a vegetarian or allergic to seafood or eats gluten-free, they might forget or not realize the ingredients are wrong. You don’t want Mom to feel distressed, and you want to have what you need.
Bringing a dish or two is both helpful, and ensures that your gal will be able to participate comfortably if something goes wrong or isn’t available. Bring wine or whatever she likes to drink, in case they don’t have any or enough of her preference. You want her to relax, and the stores might be closed.