If you’re struggling over the holidays, here’s a list of helplines and resources
Christmas should be a time of giving, eggnog and Mariah Carey.
But sadly, for many LGBT+ people, the holidays can be a difficult period, one in which they’re forced to hide who they are from unsupportive family members.
Indeed, a social media poll of PinkNews readers found that eight out of 10 respondents have gone back into the closet during the festive period. Of the more than 7,500 readers who took part, 68 per cent said they find the holidays more stressful because they are queer, and one in 10 said they intend to spend the holidays alone.
It’s why PinkNews has launched the “All I Want For Christmas Is To Be Myself” campaign, encouraging folk to share the one thing that you would change about Christmas to make it a more inclusive and happier time, using the hashtag #PNMyChristmasWish.
Many LGBT+ people are forced to hide their sexuality at Christmas or spend it alone. To raise awareness, we're launching our All I Want For Christmas Is To Be Myself campaign: tweet #PNmychristmaswish to share one thing you'd change to make the holidays happier and more inclusive pic.twitter.com/Sikbo6Xdna
— PinkNews (@PinkNews) December 14, 2021
No matter how you are celebrating, it’s important to know that you are never alone. If you’re finding things difficult, here is a list of resources that can help.
Christmas survival guides
The LGBT Foundation has a Christmas survival guide covering to everything from forced family bonding to embracing your inner Grinch.
Just Like Us also has a survival guide, including tips from its members for trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming young people.
If you need to talk
Switchboard, the LGBT+ helpline, can be spoken to via telephone, online messaging or email. Call: 01273 359042.
Mermaids, a charity supporting trans young people, can be found at: 08088 010400.
Shout is a text crisis service, where all texts are free on major networks. Text SHOUT to 85258 to connect with a trained crisis volunteer.
The National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by anti-violence group Galop, can be reached at: 0800 99 5428. It also offers a specialist conversion therapy helping at: 0800 130 335.
SWARM, a sex work advocacy group, have a guide on how to support victims of domestic abuse without calling the police.
The Samaritans offer a 24-hour helpline. Call: 116 123.
MindLine Trans+, a support helpline for trans people, offer mental health support over the phone Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from 8pm to midnight. Call: 0300 330 5468.
If you, or somebody you know, are facing homelessness over the holidays
Stonewall Housing helps LGBT+ people find somewhere safe to call home.
The Outside Project runs a crisis night shelter for LGBT+ people around London.
The London LGBTQ+ Community Centre will be open throughout the Christmas period.
The akt works to support LGBT+ youth aged between 16 and 25.
Crisis, a national homelessness charity, has Christmas centres open that also provide health services to users.
QueerCare, a transfeminist autonomous care organisation, provide mutual aid and general support for trans and queer people across the UK.
For US readers
The Trevor Project provides 24/7 crisis support, 365 days a year. Text START to 678-678, or call: (866) 488-7386
The LGBT National Hotline provides peer-to-peer support on: (888) 843-4564. Checks its website for the most up-to-date opening hours..
The charity runs a special Youth Talkline for people up to 25, which can be reached on: (800) 246-7743
Trans people experiencing difficulties should call the Trans Lifeline. To speak to a trans/non-binary peer operator anonymously, call: (877) 565-8860
The National Runaway Safeline provides advice and help to people forced to leave home and can help find shelter. Call: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)