Girl's Night OUT

"It wasn't easy telling my family I'm gay. I made my carefully worded announcement at Thanksgiving. It was very Norman Rockwell. I said, "Mom, would you please pass the gravy to a homosexual?"

She passed it to my father. A terrible scene followed. Just kidding, Dad. *wink*"

- Bob Smith, "The Gay Agenda" from the book Out, Loud & Laughing.

Boy, can I relate!

I came out at Thanksgiving, too. I was trying ever-so hard to avoid the big announcement, but while hanging out in the kitchen as my mother finished basting the turkey and was carefully lifting the monstrous carcass back into the oven, the words tumbled out of my mouth and then the turkey went SPLAT on the oven door. A terrible scene followed.

That seems like a past lifetime, but only 2 months ago did I come out to my extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins - and I did it by phone and e-mail! So this holiday season will be an interesting test of our first fully out, face-to-face family gathering.

Holidays are a time for families from far-flung places to come together again. That ain't easy when you're a different person in your far-flung home than you are at your family home. Many years back, a friend of mine who was very Out in New York was going home to her uninformed family in the Midwest. She seemed so obviously butch and queer we asked how she intended to handle the situation. "Wear my only dress and use gender-neutral pronouns."

Many of my queer friends opt not to face their biological families at all and have created elaborate holiday traditions of their own among their family of gay and lesbian friends in the city.

For all the joy this season is supposed to bring with it, there is an equal amount of sorrow over lost connections, white lies, burning truths and separation from loved ones for whatever reason. No matter what your situation - in, out or in-between - don't go it alone. Make a connection.

And by the way, the turkey tasted just fine after its abrupt fall from grace.

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