A little family acceptance goes a long way, even if the family is an online surrogate.
For many people, the holiday season is more stressful than fun. Things can be particularly tough for LGBT kids (and adults) who don’t feel able to come out to their own families.
That’s where the website Your Holiday Mom comes in.
Your Holiday Mom provides holiday-themed messages of support to people who don’t have the acceptance of their families, at a time when most people are celebrating and exchanging presents in a loving home. Forty days of open letters about holiday traditions, eggnog, home baking, and above all, acceptance. The project began in 2012, but was so popular that many more “holiday moms” signed up to write letters this year.
“Thirty years ago,” writes Your Holiday Mom’s creator, Robin Rice. “I lost my little brother to suicide because he feared he was gay and simply could not live in a world that would not support him if this were true. Today, I still feel that hole in my heart, and so I do whatever I can to support LGBTQ youth. I started by gifting Christmas Stockings to LGBTQ shelters as a way to say I care, and then last year, I put out an audio recording called Your Holiday Mom. I knew we needed more than just one voice, so last year I asked for 40 moms to open their hearts. Now, we want to extend this to dads and other family and friends, so that everyone can share their love and support.”
The project includes audio messages, a YouTube channel, and daily blog updates from surrogate holiday families of all shapes and sizes. In the site’s video trailer, one of the Holiday Moms tells the viewer that she will accept you no matter what, and rather than “not caring” about your sexual orientation, she welcomes it as a facet of your identity. Basically, it’s a perfect message to hear if you are clashing with your family over just that topic—or not going home for the holidays at all. We challenge you to watch this video without tearing up just a little.
“Although we have never met,” reads one letter, “I am so grateful for your presence on this planet. The gifts you have to give are so uniquely you, that no one else alive could possibly give them to the world, but you. I know it can be difficult to stand up and be who you really are. It is tough for all of us. But who you are is miraculous and wonderful.”
Last year, there were 35,000 interactions between Holiday Moms and readers during the 40-day holiday period. With the addition of Holiday Dads and other family members, this year is likely to reach an even greater audience. A heartwarming project, but hopefully one that some day soon, will no longer be necessary.
Screengrab via yourholidaymom/YouTube
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