Many of us look forward to traveling home for the holidays as a time to celebrate our three favorite “F’s”: family, food, and football. Thanksgiving is usually a place of comfort and tradition for millions of Americans across the country. It also marks the official beginning of the much anticipated holiday season.
While the majority of LGBT community members are welcomed with open arms at holiday functions, this isn’t always the case. LGBT members may find themselves excluded from family functions or asked to attend holiday events unauthentically. Some gays and lesbians are asked to leave their partners at home, regardless of marriage status. Others are asked to eliminate all forms of PDA, including hand-holding while attending holiday get-togethers. And some couples arrive as “friends” and never reveal their true relationship status due to religious pressure or fear of rejection.
Transgender individuals may hide who they are, or be asked to present as they were born, not as they identify
For this reason, “Friendsgiving” has become a popular tradition for many LGBT community members who prefer to enjoy the holiday festivities in the comfort of safe surroundings and open-minded friends. Others choose to host “Friendsgiving” meals in addition to family celebrations.
West Chester resident, Veronica “Ronnie” Urbine, attended her first Friendsgiving last year. When asked what the celebration meant to her, she replied, “Friendsgiving gave me the opportunity to be welcomed and involved.”
Phoenixville resident, Holly Zipperer, whose family is in Georgia, so doesn’t always get home for the holiday, shares, “Years ago, my friend hosted a ‘No Turkey No Drama’ dinner so folks who didn’t have family in town or weren’t welcome/comfortable going home for the holidays had a safe, loving place to gather.”
LGBT Organizations also provide safe spaces for community members to gather during the holidays, including Philadelphia’s William Way Center. This year they will host their Thanksgiving Holiday Potluck at 1PM on Thanksgiving Day.
Contact your local LGBT organization to learn about “Friendsgiving” celebrations in your area, or host your own!