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Saturday, November 19, 2016

It Is Not Too Early to Think About the Thanksgiving Holiday

It's not too early for Americans to think about the holiday, which always falls on the fourth Thursday of November.

Thanksgiving Day is a huge holiday in the US, centered mainly around a special family meal. In case you haven't noticed, Americans like to eat a lot. Since Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday, Friday is a holiday as well (at least as far as the government is concerned). Because Thanksgiving is considered to specifically be about family togetherness, it can be a painful time for those who have been rejected by their family because of their gender identity, sexual orientation, relationship orientation, or choice in partner(s). Some LGBT people, poly people, and those in consanguineous, intergenerational, or interracial relationships are reminded every year that even their own family hates them.

Some people make the best of this and plan a Thanksgiving meal with friends. I throw out a special “good for you” to anyone who hosts such a meal this holiday. Keep up the good work. I think such gatherings are much more enjoyable anyway. If you don't have one to go to, consider hosting your own!

But I also have words for anyone who has driven away or banned someone in their family because of that other family member’s identity, orientation or partner(s): Shame on you. You don’t have to like your family member’s sexuality or how they live. But you should reach out to them and support them instead of driving them away. Every person at that table does things you don’t like. Why single out a family member for punishment because of who they love? If your family member has a partner whose family is more accepting, guess who is going to win? Guess who is going to get to play with any grandkids/nieces/nephews? Not you. Think about it. Maybe it isn't too late to make amends and have them over for this year's holiday. This might help.

If you can’t go “home” for Thanksgiving and you are feeling down and you haven’t managed to make plans with friends, consider hosting your own Thanksgiving and invite some friends. Or, volunteer at a homeless shelter or some other charity location that will be helping people that day. Don’t allow sadness or loneliness to take hold. You can find a place where you will be welcomed.
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