Dear Destiny, 

I don’t want to come home for Thanksgiving. My parents are homophobic and strict Catholic republicans and I just came out as gay in college. For the past semester, I’ve been living my best life. I found a group of friends who support me and I’m not living a lie anymore. I can’t go back to my parents’ house, pretending that I’m the same straight Catholic son that they dropped off at school. Help???  –  Mostly Thankful

Dear Mostly Thankful, 

First of all, I want to say that I’m so happy that you found a group of friends that love and accept you. I know it doesn’t seem like this all of the time, but you deserve to be loved and you deserve to be accepted. We live in a time where being gay is becoming more and more normalized.

As it should be. You can’t change who you are, and I’m so proud of you for embracing a part of yourself that you weren’t able to show under your parents’ house. 

If you think you can get out of coming home for Thanksgiving break, try to. You don’t have to sign out of Rowan housing for Thanksgiving break, you could ask for an extension. There are a plethora of people who stay at Rowan because of different reasons, including severed family ties. Maybe you have an upcoming test that you really have to study for or you have a sudden flat tire on the way home. If there is a plausible out, try to take it. 

If you end up staying at Rowan, you won’t miss out on having a good Thanksgiving dinner. I know that there are Thanksgiving dinners for students who can’t go home for Thanksgiving break.

If you aren’t interested in that, you can order a pizza and celebrate  Thanksgiving in a way that’s strictly Americana. Netflix and root beer. Hulu and pizza. Who needs a turkey dinner when you have good company?

If you have to go to your parents for Thanksgiving, I recommend working on homework for as long as you can. If you don’t have homework, get ahead for your classes and study for finals. There’s never a lack of teachers who find it necessary to give homework during Thanksgiving break. The good thing about lying to focus in on homework while you are home is that it makes you look studious and you get a lot more alone time than if you used any other excuse. 

In the meantime, I hope you remember that staying in the closet is a defense mechanism. I think people get the idea that if you aren’t proudly gay all the time, you are living a lie. In a perfect world, nobody stays in the closet because nobody is persecuted for being gay.

However, as long as homophobia exists, the closet exists. You don’t have to come out to your parents because you aren’t in the position where it’s safe for you to do so. Just remember that while you are at home, there are friends at Rowan who are willing to support you for who you really are.

You might not be able to do anything for yourself when it comes to Thanksgiving break, but it might be gratifying to find something to do during winter break. You’d be surprised at all the people who stay at Rowan during the nontraditional school year.

I suggest that you look for a winter break job and sign up for winter housing. You might have to go home on Christmas or New Year’s, but you’ll have a plausible excuse not to come home a lot for the monthlong break.

I wanted to leave you on a good note. I know that breaks can be hard when you don’t have a supportive family. But you found a good group of people at Rowan who are your family. Just rest easy this break knowing that this may be your reality for this week, but it’s not forever. You have your real family waiting for you at Rowan. Good luck, Mostly Thankful, I believe in you. 



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