How To Deal With The Holidays When You're Not Out To Your Family

Image by Sarah Lutkenhaus

A queer therapist weighs in

Before I came out to my family, I stayed quiet for a while. No time felt like the "right time" to tell my family that I was queer; it was something I was still grappling with myself. I'm lucky in that I wasn't afraid of being rejected by them—even though they're conservative, I knew they'd always love me for who I am—but I still felt the need to come out in the "right way," whatever that means. So, there were months where I hid, not saying anything so that I could find the right time to say the one thing I was having a hard time getting out.

While I stayed silent, I felt like a fraud. I never outright lied, but lying by omission made me feel extremely guilty—and it also took a toll on my understanding of my identity. Feeling like my sexuality was something worth hiding then made it feel like it was something to be ashamed of. For me, family gatherings triggered these emotions in an extreme way.

I'm extremely fortunate that I wasn't worried about being excluded from my family because of my sexuality, but for so many other queer people, being out to their family might be impossible, or even dangerous, so they choose to stay closeted instead of putting themselves in harm's way. And now that the season of nonstop holiday gatherings is upon us, being forced into these situations where you feel like you can't be your true self can take its toll.

Stephanie Peña, a psychotherapist for queer-identified people, agrees that individuals may choose not to disclose their gender or sexuality to their family members "due to fear of rejection, bullying, or different forms of violence [mental, financial, or gender-based]." For so many, staying closeted is the safest thing to do. But at the same time, it can feel like you're covering something up, which can unleash countless uncomfortable emotions: Peña notes that one can feel "conflicted, confined, isolated, and like you're not being fully seen for your authentic self" when they remain closeted from loved ones, which "can be very painful and certainly cause sadness."

While it's never fun or fulfilling to hide a part of yourself from others, there are certain areas in which it is a safer option to omit that aspect of your identity. If you know your family has a homophobic stance, then it may be the best bet to keep yourself safe—there's nothing wrong with that. It's sometimes taxing, too, that when you come out to someone with limited knowledge of queer identity politics, more is involved than merely saying, "I'm [insert identifier here]."

"Many times education and vocabulary lessons are asked of us," says Peña, "especially if you fall into the T and or Q part of the rainbow." And explaining your identity to someone who can not or will not understand can be tough: "Coming out is not enough, and that can require a lot of emotional labor." It's totally fine to want to avoid that, especially around the holidays. "The holidays are stressful as is," Peña points out.

When it comes to the feelings of guilt that come with not disclosing your sexuality or gender identity, Peña advocates for people who are being forced into these situations to remember that they have other support systems, filled with people who accept them for their sexuality or gender identity. LGBTQ people often have some sort of chosen family of people that accepts them and may even be going through something similar. "If you can, load up on support from friends and chosen family before the holiday," she suggests. "You can remember their affirmations when feelings of guilt start creeping up." When you're feeling these negative emotions, it can be hard to remember that there's nothing wrong with you and that you are handling the situation as best you can, but if you come prepared with loads of positive vibes, being reminded that you're still valid can be a little easier.

If the negative feelings are getting to you, Peña urges to take care of yourself, whether that means exercising or engaging in fun activities. "Make excuses to get out, check in with friends or family, biological or chosen, who are supportive, and go ahead and treat yourself!" she says. "Self-care is especially important during trying times." And, above all, be kind to yourself. "Remember that you are a resilient person and that you are making the right decision for your situation. Only you can determine when the best time to come out to whom is."

Obviously, it's never anyone's preference not to be out; feeling like you're not being the best, most authentic version of yourself can make you uncomfortable or insecure, and when you're forced to shroud a part of yourself for your safety or for the comfort of others, it can make you feel guilty, like you're lying to family. But that's not actually the case. "You can still engage and cultivate meaningful connections, even if you're omitting information about your sexuality," Peña assures those in this situation."While your sexual orientation is an important part of who you are, it's not the only part. You can still be sincere and genuine in other situations and conversations that don't center around your romantic life." Most of all, remember that you're not being inauthentic by not sharing your sexual or gender orientation.

But, she says, just because you think your family wouldn't approve of you or would react negatively to the information, doesn't necessarily mean that that will be the case. "Sometimes our family can surprise us," Peña says. "I think its okay to have an 'expect the best, prepare for the worst' mentality." This doesn't mean that a family gathering would be the exact right time to come out, but being open to the possibility that you might be accepted when you do choose to cross that bridge could ease the discomfort of feeling like you're lying.

We still live in a world that doesn't fully understand or accept sexualities other than straightness, or genders that don't align with one's sex at birth. And that prejudice can, even if we deal with it on some level every day, feel alienating and even harsher when it comes from your family. But it's always important to remember that it is possible to be genuine without talking about your sexuality and that your identity is still valid, even if we live in a world that doesn't always think so.

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video)

Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.