Fight for equality by embracing the awkwardness this Thanksgiving

I'm letting Aunt Betty feel awkward this Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving approaching, GLAAD is encouraging LGBTQ folks to talk openly about their lives and partners at the family dinner table–even if that makes Aunt Betty feel a little awkward. And us straight people can do our part by talking about why we support LGBTQ equality.

A GLAAD study found that four out of five people who have become more supportive of LGBTQ rights in the last few years say that personally knowing someone was a primary reason. “Talking about our lives with our loved ones and family members is vital to advancing equality.”

Of course, not all LGBTQ folks have the privilege of being able to safely talk about their lives–or even spend the holiday with their families–but for those who can, it’s a good reminder of the immense power of sharing personal stories. (Something I’ve thought a lot about.)

I won’t be with my family this Thanksgiving, but I think the principle still holds for Friendsgiving–and for a range of issues. So I’ll definitely try to bring up that time I got an abortion in between helpings of mashed potatoes. And if you don’t quite want to go there, here are some tips from Planned Parenthood about how to talk about reproductive rights with your family.

What are the important, potentially awkward topics you want to bring up this Thursday?

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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Join the Conversation

  • Stephanie

    Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, is challenging people to bring up the 99% over Thanksgiving dinner! We’re calling it Turkey Talk, and our site has tips for broaching this topic, facts on the 99%, and suggestions dealing with the other side’s polished talking points.

    Here is the link for those interested:

  • Badseed1980

    Polyamory. I’ve already come out to my extended family as poly, but don’t talk much about it with them. I’d like to be able to explain that my boyfriend is spending Thanksgiving with his other girlfriend, without feeling defensive about it.

  • nazza

    If I had the courage, I’d ask my father why his definition of success is so conditional. I don’t think he’ll ever approve of the most important aspects of my life, in which I have made numerous strides.

    I am torn between whether to call him out and whether he’d just ignore me, like always.

  • Alex

    Here in Canada, our Thanksgiving is past already. At family gatherings, I’ve been trying to be more open about being polyamorous. The gender-related stuff is a bit more tricky. I’ve been consistently using gender-neutral pronouns in front of my parents when referring to my friends who prefer that; I’m hoping that hearing the pronouns in use will make it easier when I actually ask my family to start using “they” for me.

  • Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    I’m sure it’ll be good for a few laughs when I explain to some of Mom’s side of the family that I’m planning a menu of native vegetable Cuban dishes for Indigenous People’s Day instead. Not that they’re coming over then, but I’m sure I’ll be asked.

  • Jay Phoebe

    I think this is an awesome point to make, and it can be really easy to slip into “making nice for parents” mode when going home for the holidays, with all the self-erasure that can entail. However, I created an account today because I was bothered by this line:

    “And us straight people can do our part by talking about why we support LGBTQ equality.”

    Who are “us” straight people? I feel like the author specified there that they’re talking only to a straight audience, about (but not to) LGBTQ folks.

    • Maya

      Oh, I just said “us” because I’m straight and wanted to position myself as a straight ally. Certainly don’t think the audience is only straight! Sorry if that was confusing!