Whiteside: Remembering homeless LGBT youth this Christmas

Published: December 24, 2010

Spending time with family over the holidays can be unpleasant for many. For me, being gay has made such occasions customarily awkward.

One family member wears her acceptance like a badge, effusively talking about every other gay person she’s aware of—“I can’t believe you two don’t know each other!” My grandmother, on the other hand, acknowledges my being gay in overly measured inquiry, like yesterday on the phone: “Are you bringing a special friend this year?”

“You mean a boyfriend?” I assume. She pauses, uncertain. “Is that what I’m supposed to call them?”

To be bothered by these well-intended exchanges would be petty. After all, I spend time with a family who cares about me, I am fed handsomely, and I sleep in a warm and comfortable place.

For tens of thousands of homeless LGBT youth, the holidays are a much worse experience.

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