Adam Polaski

GLAAD Encourages Awkward Thanksgivings

Filed By Adam Polaski | November 20, 2011 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: GLAAD, LGBT, Thanksgiving

thanksgiving.jpegWith Thanksgiving right around the corner, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is encouraging LGBT people to talk freely and openly about their relationships and LGBT equality overall. Hilariously, they're calling the campaign "I'm Letting Aunt Betty Feel Awkward This Thanksgiving."

GLAAD explains the purpose of the campaign:

We've all had those Thanksgiving dinners where Aunt Betty decides this is the perfect time to discuss a year's worth of ailments and medical treatments. Well, you know what? If she can talk about her polyp, you can talk about your partner.

The fact is, while you're scarfing down mashed potatoes and staying silent while everyone else at the table is freely speaking their minds, you're missing a golden opportunity to make real, honest progress by talking about your life, and the things you care about. It's okay if Aunt Betty feels a little awkward at first, it's important for her to know that someone she loves cares deeply about LGBT equality. And the more we all talk about what's important to us, the less awkward those conversations will become.

In many cases, breaking the ice is the most difficult part of engaging in discussion about LGBT equality with family members, but once that's over with, conversations often take a turn for the better, eliciting more questions and dialogue about the LGBT movement.

GLAAD has more information about family members being more supportive of LGBT people after a conversation with one of their gay, lesbian, bi or trans loved ones:

In 2008, we did a study of people who said their opinions on LGBT issues were more favorable than they were five years prior. Of those who were now more supportive of LGBT equality, four out of five cited personally knowing someone who was lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender as a primary reason.

The more comfortable you are talking about your life, the more comfortable other people will be standing up for LGBT issues with their friends and co-workers. Maybe Aunt Betty will speak up and use you as an example the next time someone at her office speaks out against marriage equality.

I only came out to my extended family - aunts, uncles, grandparents - in August, so this Thanksgiving will be one of the first times I'll feel even remotely comfortable talking about my boyfriend, my gay friends at school, and what I write about for Bilerico. But I'm excited to break that ice, risk the awkwardness, and talk about things that are important to me - just how everyone else in my family can talk about what is important to them.

In anticipation of GLAAD's campaign, does anyone have any awkward LGBT-related Thanksgiving stories to share?


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Great article Adam. After years of awkward holiday meals, I can happily report that this Thanksgiving will be a low stress affair. The awkward now, brings comfort later.

I am not LGBT,But have friends that are.And for those who feel ashamed or feel scared to share or come out to their families,I hope you find these words encouraging in your times of trial.(Sorry,but I don't know who came up with most of these)

Judging a person does not define who they are,it defines who you are-?

Be who you are and say what you feel.Those who matter,don't mind.And those who mind,don't matter -Dr.Seuss

Never sacrifice who you are just because someone has a problem with it.-?

You don't have to be perfect to be needed-?


courage does not always roar.sometimes courage is a small voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow"


I find this campaign somewhat troubling. While they are not saying explicitly come out- that seems to be part of it.

I believe reading in several books / opinion pieces that the worst time to come out is during the holidays- families are already stressed out with the holidays.

While it is comical in its message- it is troubling esp. for LGBT youth. Yes come out during thanksgiving! Have your parents kick you out during the holidays.

It is like GLAAD is forgetting that for many people coming out is a dangerous process. There is the real risk of rejection, isolation, violence, or being kicked out of the house and onto the streets.

So yea, have an awkward thanksgiving if you think its a safe space to do so, but please if you're worried about your family's response - please do it in a way that will be safe to you above all.

I think you're right, capitalistpiggy, that urging people - especially young gay people - to come out during the holidays may not be the best bet. But I think that GLAAD's campaign is more geared toward people who have already come out - who are maybe in that in-between phase that follows coming out and precedes healthy, comfortable discussion about it. You know, that year or two or nine after coming out to family members where you never bring it up again and don't actually talk about it.

In those cases especially, I think an awkward thanksgiving may be just what's needed.