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Coming out for Christmas

Illustrations by Hannah Gilson

Enchanted by the much-talked-about Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis romcom, Hanna Hanra reflects on festive trips home as a not-quite-out lesbian

I must start with a disclaimer. I’m writing about Christmas as if it were proper Christmas; the one with crinkled Quality Street wrappers migrating down the side of the sofa and night upon night of, ‘Let’s have a drink before Christmas!’ I’m talking about the kind of Christmas we know and love, of Home Alone, a hangover and the javelin in the middle of a chocolate orange. Of being lightly tickled by Aunty Jean’s beardy whiskers as she leans in for a boozy kiss, cake in one hand, sherry in the other.

When I say ‘Christmas’ I’m not talking about Christmas 2020, whatever that will look like. I don’t mean tapping on your nan’s window while trying to emote behind a mask and cheers-ing with a Thermos of mulled wine. I mean that full feeling of a third portion of turkey pressing into your ribs, the feeling that pre-empts a nap and later, leftovers. That’s what I’m talking about. It’s Mariah Carey, it’s glitter and tinsel. It’s cinnamon-scented and studded with dried fruit that look like jewels. It’s camp. It’s Christmas.

As a gay at Christmas, I appreciate exactly how camp it is by it’s very nature: what could be more queer than three fabulously dressed men making a pilgrimage to the wrong side of town with gorgeous gifts to zhuzh up their unfortunate straight friends’ home, a simple stable with straw on the floor and an old donkey bucket for a new baby’s crib? It’s basically the pilot episode of Queer Eye.

"As it turns out, being a lesbian, or having one in the family, is nothing to be ashamed of"

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"the thought of an aunt you haven’t seen for two years asking you 3,000 questions about who you are dating and why you have pink hair now can be positively overwhelming"

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"It’s easy to fall into a trap and ask all the usual questions — kids, marriage, partner, job — but sometimes these questions might not be easy to answer"

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