Friday, December 15, 2000

Home for the Holidays?

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #145, December 15, 2000)

The holiday season is upon us, and it has a way of making good things very good and bad things horrible. If you are a kinky person (of any sexual orientation or preference) who is part of an understanding and accepting biological family, you are perhaps counting your blessings and looking forward to some sort of wonderful holiday family get-together.

Or perhaps your biological family knows about your kinky tendencies and some or all of the family members don’t approve. Maybe it’s your parents. Maybe it’s your kids (or your grandkids). Maybe it’s a brother, a sister, an aunt or uncle. In any case, their disapproval may mean that the time you spend with your family this holiday season will range from uncomfortable to downright excruciating. Or it may mean you won’t be spending any time at all with them by either their request or your choice.

Even though you may find yourself feeling sadness, anger, resentment or regret about your relationship with those disapproving members of your biological family, at least you’ll be free to spend time with people whose company you actually enjoy. Ask yourself how you really want to spend the holiday. Don’t be limited by convention. Do you want to gather at someone’s home for a big holiday meal? Spend the day with just your partner, a roaring fire in the fireplace, and a sling? Have a Solstice orgy with 20 or 30 or 100 of your closest friends? (“I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas . . . “)

Or perhaps your biological family doesn’t know you’re kinky. Maybe, as far as you’re concerned, that’s a fine state of affairs since it’s none of their business anyway. The time you spend with your family might be satisfying or awful, but the quality of that time won’t be influenced by feelings of guilt, shame or rejection relating to the fact that you feel you must hide something from them.

If for some reason you feel your kinkiness is their business—if you feel it’s getting in the way of open and honest communication and you want to share this aspect of your life with your family (or at least certain family members)—here are a few things you might want to consider as you contemplate how you will “come out” to them as a kinky person.

• Do you want to tell them during the holiday season at all, or would some other time be less emotionally loaded?

• Telling someone news that may shock them is better done on the day after Christmas than the day before Christmas (or Christmas Day itself).

• Don’t try to sugarcoat things by inviting someone for a grand holiday meal or other festive event during which you deliver the news. If someone is going to be upset by your revelation, they’ll be doubly upset that you ruined what up to that point had been a perfectly lovely occasion.

If you’ve already come out as a member of the GLBT community you may find that you’ve already gone through a similar process. As a matter of fact, these tips are adapted from a wonderful book by Mary Borhek called Coming Out To Parents: A Two-Way Survival Guide for Lesbians, Gay Men And Their Parents. It discusses holiday issues along with other family-related topics, and many of the book’s discussions about GLBT issues can also be applied to kink issues. If you or your parents (or your kids) are feeling family stress I recommend it highly (and the fact that I’m the author’s son has absolutely nothing to do with my recommendation).

Finally, remember that you have options and choices in the matter of how you’ll spend this holiday season. It doesn’t matter so much what other people think about how you celebrate the holiday. What matters is that it be uplifting and meaningful for you. That’s my holiday wish for all my readers—whatever holiday you celebrate and however you celebrate it.

Starting Jan. 3: Wednesday Evenings at The Tank

A new mid-week leather hangout: The Saloon’s leather bar, The Tank, will be open Wednesday evenings from 10 PM to 1 AM starting January 3, 2001 (the kitchen will be open 10-11:30 PM). The dress code will be “relaxed,” but there will be free pool for men in leather. (The Tank will still be open Sunday evenings as well.)

Upcoming Leather Events (for Calendar section)

Friday, Dec. 15, 7:30 PM-closing: Wear your club colors to Club Colors Night at The Minneapolis Eagle.

Saturday, Dec. 16, noon-7 PM: Do your holiday shopping at MSDB’s Bizarre Bazaar at Club Metro Underground in St. Paul. In addition to various vendors there will be a silent auction benefiting the Mr./Ms. Minnesota Olympus Leather contest (to be held in January, 2001). $5 at the door; visit for more info.

Wednesday, Dec. 22, 10 PM-1 AM: Chris Steele, a leatherman’s fantasy, and legendary porn-film director Chi Chi LaRue will be making an appearance at The Saloon.

Wednesday, Dec. 27: The monthly TIES Munch starts at 7:30 pm, Legends Cafe, 825 E. Hennepin Ave., Mpls. Come hobnob with about 150 other kinky folks at the perfect after-Christmas social gathering. If you’ve just been visiting the relatives in the hinterlands and need to get back to reality, this should do it.

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