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Well, congratulations! If for nothing else, congratulations on surviving one of the most tumultuous, confusing, disappointing and momentous years … ever.

Earlier this month, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) released the results of the U.S. Trans Survey (USTS), which, at 28,000 respondents, is the largest survey ever devoted to the lives and experiences of trans people. The USTS was a follow-up to the groundbreaking National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which was collected in 2008 and 2009 by the NCTE in partnership with the National LGBTQ Task Force.

 

With the holiday season upon us, many of us are preparing to join with family and friends to celebrate our holiday traditions with the important people in our lives. However, the holiday season can also come with many challenges, producing new stresses and heightening existing anxieties. 

Upon Hillary Clinton losing the election, a distinct grim tone to people’s sharing immediately cropped up in my therapy practice. Expressions of overt sadness, anger, disbelief and fear were par for the course during the first couple of weeks after the results. Although, interestingly, these feelings were not just about Donald Trump and the onslaught of poor choices to come politically. Many people expressed a variety of increased negative emotions related to their personal lives as well as their overall outlook on being a human being in ways that would not have been typical just a few weeks prior. 

No matter our age, we have a vast array of needs that we must care for throughout our lives. Caring for our physical health, emotional wellness and social connections is an ongoing process that requires consistent attention.

Every year, the team at Mazzoni Center’s Open Door Counseling program puts together what we call a “Holiday Survival Guide,” filled with tips and advice on navigating a season that can often bring challenges. Despite the joyful reputation, we all know that the holidays can also be a tough time for LGBTQ folks who may have strained relations with families of origin; for trans or gender-nonconforming folks coming to terms with family who may not be fully accepting or affirming of your identity; for people who are in recovery; for those who have been through a recent loss or break-up; or for anyone who braces themselves as this season approaches. 

I made a cake Nov. 8 to celebrate what I thought would be Hillary Clinton’s election. For decoration, I melted sugar into sheets and broke it into shards to represent the glass ceiling that I hoped she would shatter. On Nov. 9, however, I found myself looking at the remains of the cake and wondering if it better represented an earlier event on that date: Kristallnacht, when Nazi-led mobs vandalized hundreds of synagogues, Jewish homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and cemeteries, leaving the streets littered in broken glass.

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