As a family therapists we often run into clients or family of clients that are struggling with political and religious conflict with their family members from the LGBTQIA+ community, sometimes to the point where rejections, and cut offs are being considered. During the holiday season these conflicts tend to reach a fevered pitch, often being the driving force for many to begin/return to therapy. Adding another layer of complication, many individuals tend to get engaged over the holiday season, which prompts a flurry of spring weddings and pre-wedding angst. When the person getting married is your family member and the wedding is a gay/queer wedding, it may bring up a lot of emotions and turmoil over how to respond depending upon your level of acceptance of the entirety of who they are as a person. If you are someone who is struggling with determining what the best choice is for you, we've come up with some discussion points for the family of Queer loved ones to think about to help you gain clarity and hopefully some peace with your decision.
After taking time to read these questions, we suggest that you sit with yourself and notice your reactions. Did you notice any changes in your body as your reflected on them? Notice the questions that made you most uncomfortable and be curious and ask yourself why those questions brought on that reaction. Change is often uncomfortable, and we do a lot to resist change and return to homeostasis-where things were before and what we were most acclimated or used to. Sometimes discomfort shows up when we are at our learning edge, the place where we are challenged and struggle between our old beliefs and the introduction of new thoughts, feelings, or experiences that challenge them.
We know sitting with your thoughts can be uncomfortable. One of the hardest things for folks during the pandemic was not having the usual distractions and being forced to sit with their thoughts (which had the unfortunate consequence of increasing substance abuse to re-bury these thoughts). Be kind to yourself. Let go of the judgment. Just notice and curious. If it helps, write down your thoughts to help you gain more clarity.
Authors~Megan Garza, MA, LMFT & Chris Scarberry, MA, LPC
Megan Garza, MA, LMFT is a certified Specialist in Treating Trauma at a Supervisory level and is Licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist. She specializes in work with sexual abuse survivors.