Farmville Pride: Give the gift of love and acceptance

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, January 4, 2024

Meagan Irving is writing this month’s column for Farmville Pride.

The holidays are amongst us and for many, they bring thoughts of togetherness and family gatherings. The holidays are traditionally thought of as a time for love and acceptance. But that is not the case for all. For many members of the LGBTQ+ community, the holidays can be isolating and family gatherings can make people feel unable to be their true selves. If you have a family member or friend that has chosen the holiday season as an appropriate time to come out, please remember that they are only trying to be their true, authentic selves. 

If someone you know comes out this holiday season, listen with an open mind. Ask yourself “how does this affect me?” This person is not out to hurt anyone, but instead wants to be able to be themselves without hiding. 

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If they choose to come out to you, they trust you and love you enough to not judge them. That trust comes with a responsibility that should never be broken, both in how you react and what you do with the information. Hold onto that trust and love, as it is something that is sacred and not given to all. 

When someone comes out to their friends and family, it is imperative that it be on their own terms. If someone trusts you enough to come out to you, but is not ready to tell others, keep it to yourself. This is a decision that they have come to after a lot of deliberation and others knowing this piece of information about them is something that could change the course of their lives. Coming out is something that needs to be done on their timeline, no one else’s. As such, please don’t push someone into telling others their sexual orientation or gender identity. They will do it on their own, when they are ready. Coming out is a scary thought to most LGBTQ+ folks and is something they need to do when they feel fully prepared to. 

This holiday season, give the gift of love and acceptance. Be a safe space for your loved ones and let them know that when they confide in you, it stays with you. Love others for who they are, not who you want them to be. Let them live as their own person. Even if you’re not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, know that there is always a need for allies who have their back and will stand up against injustices and attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. 

And if you are someone who is not met with love and acceptance, know that you are not alone. There is a community out there that loves and accepts you for who you are. 

If you are someone who doesn’t understand the LGBTQ+ people in your life, but are wanting to learn and understand, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 

More about Farmville Pride

Farmville Pride is an inclusive group for the Heart of Virginia’s LGBTQ+ community and allies of all ages. Farmville Pride works to create safe spaces to support LGBTQ+ people in Farmville and the surrounding areas. 

Consider joining us at one of our monthly meetings (every third Saturday from 2-4 at Three Roads Brewery). Find us on Facebook, Instagram, or by clicking here. 

MEAGAN IRVING is a new member of the Board of Directors for Farmville Pride. She is the first archivist for the group. She can be reached at info@FarmvillePride.com.