Well, Kenyon. It’s that time of year again. The weather’s getting colder (sort of … ), holiday decorations are starting to go up, and exams are winding down at last. We’ve survived several months of academic rigor, but sometimes it’s even harder to survive a month back home. Today’s ❄Queer 101❄ has arrived to dish out some basic advice about heading back to the homestead. So, let’s get started.
- Ask Them Before They Ask You
Questions like, “do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?” or “what activities are you involved in at Kenyon?” can be avoided using this simple method: ask about someone else’s life first. Some people really like talking about themselves, so ask your nosy relatives about their kids/garden/1,000 cats, etc. and keep up the questions until they run out of steam. If they start turning the tables on you, make your answers as boring as possible and follow up with more questions.
- Be Really, Really Vague
If you’re uncomfortable lying to people, you can come up with phrases that aren’t really lies to talk about queer stuff. For example, if you want to say you like working with Unity House, you can say, “I’m part of this organization that promotes gender equality” and leave it at that.
- Conceal, Don’t Feel
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have their identities welcomed and accepted by the folks back home. However, your sexuality and gender identity both qualify as private information. A.k.a, you don’t have to feel guilty for not discussing these things with people who won’t react to them positively. If you do come out to people, remind them of this fact. If you don’t, it’s tough having to hide, but you’re not betraying yourself or anyone else. And your identity is still valid.
- I Don’t Want to Talk About It
If something makes you uncomfortable, express that feeling of discomfort. It can be really tough to look at someone and say, “I don’t want to talk about this with you,” but you have a right to do so. If this person really cares about you, or knows the rules of basic human decency, they will respect your privacy and move on. You’ll experience three seconds of awkwardness instead of hours of discomfort. Confrontation is difficult, but you’ll be thanking yourself later.
- Call In for Backup!
Rejoice! We are in the age of the medias! We are all antisocial dirtbags, ruining the world with our iTelephones and our Facebooks. But seriously, calling or texting a close friend can be really helpful. Personal anecdote: I often feel like I’m being a burden when I vent about my issues to my friends, but when I do pluck up the courage to have a Deep Talk, they’re always so wonderful and understanding. This is literally what friends are for, overused truisms aside. They care about you and your well being. So call!
Side Note: if you ever need someone to talk to about queer issues, I’m here even if you don’t know me personally. The point of a queer community is that we’re a community. I’m by no means Knowledgable on All Things Queer, but I’m here to listen. So are our friends in Unity, Crozier, Qdubs, QMS, etc., etc.
- Live Vicariously through Fictional Queer Universes
It’s winter break, so bundle up under your blankets and get started on that TV show you haven’t had time to catch up on. If you’re looking for recs, Tumblr has so many. I personally am really into Carmilla right now (a Canadian supernatural web series set on a college campus. Queer vampires, anyone?). There’s two whole seasons! Go, go, go!
If you have any other pieces of advice or words of encouragement, you can add them in the comments section. Also, if you’re an ally with a friend who’s nervous about heading home, let them know that you’re here to help in any way that you can (but try not to make a big deal about it because nobody likes that).
I hope your winter break is restful, cozy, and safe. See you next semester!