How a new Christmas stocking made me feel accepted in my family after coming out as trans

the voice and vision of a new generation
Image credit: Owen Logios

How a new Christmas stocking made me feel accepted in my family after coming out as trans

December 21, 2018

Christmas has always been a spectacle in my family, with the house all decorated with the same homemade projects from mine and my sisters’ elementary school days, sneakily hiding presents around the house from each other, and opening my 12 Days of Disney Socks Advent Calendar each day leading up to Christmas (which you can catch on my Instagram). Christmas is my favorite day of the year, maybe second next to the New York City Pride March.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is getting my stocking, filled with small gifts like candy, pens, toothbrushes, etc. My whole family has had the same stockings ever since I was born, with a Christmas image and our names embroidered at the top. But, after coming out as transgender two years ago and changing my name to Owen, my stocking and other Christmas decorations were difficult to face.

Ever since I came out, December has been tougher than years past. I get to come home from school after a long Fall semester and see my family, but since I am not out to my extended family, I get misgendered and have to hear my old name constantly at family parties. Going from my college environment where I’m consistently validated in my identity to one where I practically go back in the closet is confusing and frustrating to deal with.

This week, I came home with the house decked out for Christmas per usual. But something was different. Laid out for me on the counter was a brand new stocking, without my old name on top of it. Instead, the stocking just read “O”, the nickname my family calls me. I teared up at the sight of it and immediately hugged my parents, knowing this was their doing and that they wanted me to feel comfortable and included on my favorite holiday.

Parents of transgender youth may struggle to express their support and acceptance of their child but can find small ways to validate their identity throughout the holidays. My story is just one example, but other examples could be gifting transitional apparel like binders for transmasculine folks, or pride flags for any LGBTQ+ identity. Another way to make sure trans people are validated at family parties during the holiday season is including names and pronouns on seat markers at the dinner table, so everyone is treated with respect and identified properly.

For more information on how to better support the transgender community, check out GLAAD’s Tips for Allies of Transgender People.

At first, my immediate family had a hard time grappling with my trans identity, but have come a long way. I am very fortunate to have parents and siblings who no longer shy away from change but embrace it. Although a small gesture, my stocking is a piece of Christmas that I love so much, and for my parents to directly acknowledge my identity was the greatest gift this holiday season.

Owen Logios is a GLAAD Campus Ambassador and senior at UCONN studying math and statistics. Owen has worked to support The National Equality March, New York City Heritage of Pride, GLAAD, The True Colors Organization, and The March Against Revenge Porn. Most recently, Owen served an intern for the Tyler Clementi Foundation.

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