Pohutukawa’s & Pride: Supporting LGBTQ+ Family During Christmas

Christmas in Aotearoa is a time for whānau, laughter, and love. Yet, for some LGBTQ+ individuals and families, the festive season can be tinged with anxiety and isolation. Coming out, navigating complex family dynamics, and facing potential discrimination can cast a shadow on what’s meant to be the “most wonderful time of the year.”

This year, let’s rewrite the narrative and make Christmas a celebration of inclusivity and acceptance for everyone, especially our rainbow whānau. Here are some ways you can show your support and spread holiday cheer:

1. Embrace whānau in all its forms:

Remember, whānau extends beyond blood relatives. If a member of your chosen family is LGBTQ+ and hasn’t come out yet, create a safe and loving space for them. Let them know that you accept and support them unconditionally, without judgment.

2. Educate yourself and celebrate diversity:

Take some time to learn about the unique experiences and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in Aotearoa. Listen with an open mind and avoid making assumptions or insensitive comments. Remember, everyone deserves respect and understanding.

3. Love is love, in all its beautiful forms:

Don’t shy away from acknowledging same-sex relationships or LGBTQ+ families. Include them in your holiday traditions and celebrations, ensuring they feel welcome and valued members of the community.

4. Mind your language, use inclusive pronouns:

Be mindful of the pronouns you use and avoid making assumptions about someone’s gender identity. Ask people how they prefer to be addressed and respect their wishes.

5. Support rainbow businesses and organizations:

When shopping for Christmas gifts, consider supporting local LGBTQ+ businesses or donating to charities that advocate for their rights and well-being. This helps create a more equitable and inclusive Aotearoa.

6. Speak up against discrimination:

Silence can be deafening. If you witness or hear about discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals, don’t be a bystander. Speak up and challenge discriminatory behavior, even if it feels uncomfortable.

7. Let your rainbow flag fly high:

Decorate your home with rainbow colors, flags, or symbols. This sends a powerful message of inclusivity and shows your unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community.

8. Share your story, inspire others:

If you’re an LGBTQ+ individual yourself, consider sharing your story with others. This can help raise awareness, foster understanding, and inspire others to embrace their authentic selves.

9. Remember, aroha conquers all:

In the spirit of Aotearoa’s warm manaakitanga (hospitality), let’s spread love and acceptance this Christmas. Let’s make it a season where everyone feels safe, celebrated, and loved, regardless of their background or who they love.

By taking these small steps, we can make a big difference in the lives of our LGBTQ+ whānau this Christmas. Let’s create a festive season filled with love, laughter, and acceptance for everyone in Aotearoa.

Additional Resources:

Kia kaha, kia aroha, kia kotahi te wairua o te Kirihimete! (Be strong, be loving, and let the spirit of Christmas shine!)