Surviving the holidays being transgender

By: Samuel Smith, Columnist

Columnist Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.

The holidays are coming up. They can be hard for anyone, but I honestly think it can be hard in a different way for transgender people. From getting misgendered or deadnamed by family, to having to wear clothes that doesn’t match how you feel, to potentially dealing with transphobic remarks, it can be rough. However, there are ways to make it through.

COVID-19 is the perfect excuse not to visit family. There are restrictions on traveling, and it’s not the safest thing to do right now. If you have to travel in order to visit family, tell them you don’t want to risk catching COVID-19, that you love them, but you don’t want to get sick or get them sick

If you do have to visit family, or you live with them, try to surround yourself with positive folks. Talk to friends who are supportive. Shoot your gender-affirming friends a message. Make sure you surround yourself with positive influences to help cope with negative family. It’s also helpful to browse social media accounts and websites dedicated to LGBT+ pride and rights. 

Pre-coming-out, I used to watch a lot of trans men on YouTube. It was helpful because it made me feel like I could have a future as a man, and it helped show me what I was getting into once I did come out. I also think following people who are your gender and have hobbies you have can be really helpful as well.

I like to knit, so I follow a handful of male knitters on Instagram. Not only do they give me ideas for projects to do, but there’s also this sense of community. Knowing that there are other male knitters out there also gives me a sense of gender euphoria. There are tons of Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook accounts for every hobby and you’re bound to find someone with whom you can identify with.

Clothes can be tricky. Pre-coming-out, what I liked to do was wear more androgynous clothing. My parents didn’t let me wear men’s clothing until my senior year of high school so I bought women’s clothes with a boxy cut. I also wore a lot of button-ups and flannels. You can do similar things in the men’s aisle, and there are simple ways you can make your style more androgynous or cut more to your style. 

For example, if you’re more masculine-leaning, you can buy pants that are boxy and have a more straight cut, or you can tuck in your shirt to give yourself a boxy frame. Feminine-leaning folks can leave their shirt untucked, or choose a longer coat that tapers slightly in the waistline. Sweaters, flannel, jeans, and simple accessories (like a small chain necklace, a watch, or boots) are androgynous looks that anyone can pull off. Doc Martens is, in my opinion, a good boot company. They come in “women’s” and “men’s” styles, but a lot of their styles cross-over.

The holidays can be hard. I’ve had my fair share of Christmases upset because a family member wouldn’t acknowledge me for who I am or because I had to wear a dress and heels to Christmas Mass. Coming out and transitioning takes time and I encourage you to come out when you are ready and safe. That being said, there are ways to manage dysphoria and the negative feelings surrounding not being able to be open.

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