It’s a sad reality that even today, not every LGBT person is able to be open with their families and still be welcomed home for the holidays. For those who can’t get that affirmation from their own relatives, the website Your Holiday Mom hopes getting it from someone else’s will help ease the hurt.
Project founder Robin Rice says she started the site because she knew there was a need:
Thirty years ago, I lost my little brother to suicide because he feared he was gay and simply could not live in a world that would not support him if this were true. Today, I still feel that hole in my heart, and so I do whatever I can to support LGBTQ youth.
I started by gifting Christmas Stockings to LGBTQ shelters as a way to say I care, and then last year, I put out an audio recording called ‘Your Holiday Mom.’ I knew we needed something more than just one voice, so last year I asked for 40 moms to open their hearts. Supportive moms from all walks of life are out there and this is a story most don’t hear.
It was so popular, we had 35,000 interactions in 40 days. Now, we want to extend this to dads and other family and friends, so that everyone can share their love and support.
Rather than being an individual penpal-type program, the site posts open letters (some with audio) from “holiday moms” who signed up to spread holiday cheer to some of those who need it the most. Each letter offers a virtual invite into the writer’s home for the holidays, welcoming the reader with a vivid description of the writer’s holiday traditions, or even lack thereof, around Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday of the season.
Sibling Ashley writes:
It may well be that you live in a home where you don’t feel accepted, wanted, or loved. It may well be that you don’t feel free to be the person you know you were born to be. Let me be the first one to say that those people who’ve contributed to your feelings of loneliness, unworthiness, or unwantedness; those people are not your tribe.
Your tribe is out here in the world. We welcome you. We embrace you. We send you air-hugs and high-fives. We invite you to join our celebration this holiday…
We are your tribe. I am your tribe. I am standing in front of you, hands on your shoulders, looking you in the eye saying ‘I accept you, you are mine.’ Because today and every day, I accept you. You are mine. And I am yours.