How To Handle Family Members That Won’t Accept Your Gay Husband

married gay men

If you are married, why on earth would you not spend the holiday with your husband?

Now that we are in the full throws of the holiday season, I thought I would share a recent observation I made about a few friends of mine who happen to be gay and married.

Long story short, several of them told me that they were doing Thanksgiving separately. You may be wondering what that means? Let me give you some examples.




One couple I know [we’ll call them Steve and Chris] celebrated their Thanksgiving the weekend before the official holiday. They made Turkey with the fixings – plus homemade pumpkin pie to boot.

Not so terrible, right?

Well not so fast. You see the reason they celebrated Turkey day early was because the both of them had plans to fly to their respective parent’s home for the actual holiday.

Yep, that’s right. Steve got on a plane to New York and Chris flew to Georgia.

Related: 5 mistakes people make when buy gay couples gifts

And did I mention they have been together 10-years? In fact, they legally tied the knot this past August. I should know because I was at their wedding.

When I asked Steve and Chris why they were doing separate Thanksgivings, the both of them told me that their parents weren’t OK with their relationship.

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And while each used different words to describe the dynamics, the end result was the same – they couldn’t bring their husband home because it would “upset the family”.

Again, I am on a rant here and apologize in advance for being mouthy. But I’m just going to come out and say it.

If you are married to another man, why would you ditch him for the holidays?

Look, I realize that all of us have different situations. And I also understand that not everyone is cool with gay relationships. But here is the thing – when you made the decision to take your man’s hand in marriage, you made a public (and legal) pronouncement that the two of you were a couple.

Related: 10 ways I keep my gay husband happy

When we deny the existence of our relationships to friends and family, we perpetuate an endless, toxic cycle of invisibility. We also dishonor the bond we have with our husbands in an effort to appease family members.

Here is a newsflash – you and your husband have just as much of a right to enjoy the holidays too!

Another gay couple I know also did the separate Thanksgiving thing.  The duo have been together for 7 years, getting hitched last June.

Nice huh?

Well hang on – because not only are they married, they also happen to have a 2-year old baby.

When I asked why they aren’t spending the holiday together, I was told by one of them that, “We travel separate during the holidays because our parents are a**holes. They won’t accept our marriage.”

Perhaps it wasn’t my place but I couldn’t help but ask several rhetorical questions:

What kind of message does it send to your child when you act like your husband doesn’t exist?

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Seriously, how does this work exactly? Do you basically show up for the family meal and pretend you are straight?

Do you just sit there at the dinner table as family members talk about their marriages and their kids while you go along with it – all the while knowing your husband and baby aren’t with you?

Is being with an unaccepting, judgmental family that worth it?

As a couple that has been together 25-years, we decided long ago that we weren’t going to hide our relationship from others. If family members couldn’t handle it because of religious reasons, we certainly respected that.

But there’s no way – ever – either one of us would be OK with setting up permanent separate holidays away from one another. To do so is to give into homophobia.

Worse, it’s living a lie.

What I am going to say is probably controversial but here it goes.

If you’re married to another man and your family can’t deal with it, don’t go home. If your family sends you holiday gifts and excludes your husband, send it back.

And if your parents are only interested in playing grandma or grandpa to your baby but can’t accept your husband, don’t let them see your child.

Never let your family dictate the terms of your relationship. LGBTQ folks worked too hard to make marriage equality happen.

I don’t know how else to explain it but marriage has a way of deepening your relationship. Respect the power of your love and your marital bond.

That’s your husband – don’t you want him at your side for the holidays?




By: John Hollywood