With all these strategies and options in mind, I went into the holiday season confidently.
May 23, 2023
Since I was so wrapped up in these thoughts around this season, I figured it would be useful to gently test out what I was going to do over Thanksgiving so then I would be able to report back as we all prepare for the next bigger holiday season. Kind of like a Thanksgiving test run to get a sense of how I would need to adjust for the weeks to come so I could share some experience-based insight, too.
Before attending the events with my extended family, I decided to brief my nuclear family on my plan. I didn’t want my identity to be a spectacle, so I asked that the four members of my immediate family continue to use my preferred pronouns, even around those who were unaware of them and that if this raised any questions, to please direct the people with the questions to me.
At each Thanksgiving dinner I attended, my siblings and parents referred to me as “they” or “them” organically and frequently. I was expecting this strategy to raise some questions while naturally inserting my preferred pronouns into the conversation. And it worked practically exactly how I was expecting it to.
This method rarely raised questions while making everyone involved aware that I was to be referred to in a genderless way.
The response was generally pretty neutral. My family members either didn’t care, didn’t notice, or just silently accepted this new knowledge. This was a great way to handle that tricky balance of discomfort and complete expression. I never felt ostracized at any of the events, but I did feel comfortable with the fact that people were aware of or using my preferred pronouns.
I was happily surprised at the way my family handled my identity. It was so validating to put my worries to rest in a way that didn’t make me feel ostracized or unloved. I’m glad that the situation played out smoothly, but, in the end, I’m even more glad that my nervousness and caution around this topic led to me finding a comfortable way to bring this up with my family. All in all, my anxieties played out in my favor and helped me to feel more comfortable with myself and my entire family.
My situation played out very well, and I wholeheartedly hope you are as fortunate as I have been for those who decide to wear your non-binary pronouns on your sleeve.