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Pre-Holiday Reflection and Advice

Reflections on Good News

I always end up doing a lot of reflecting this time of year. This year, my mind drifts towards how my habits and priorities shift over time. What impact has my life had on the people I’ve come into contact with in the past year? What major changes have happened in my community? In my family? In the way I treat myself, and how I show up in the world? 


I’ve been thinking about how this year has had so many heart-wrenching moments of being bombarded with headlines of yet another person killed, and yet another bill or law attacking human rights. And I’ve been thinking about how the media tends to focus on the negative things, and how addictive it can be to dive into that and stew in the anxiety of the sorrows of the world. So I went looking for good news, because I know it’s always there, and to my delight I found plenty! 


Editor Bio:

Edmund Green Langdell (they/them) is an ever becoming enby, whose work focuses on promoting human and environmental wellbeing through design and education. They work for Play Out Apparel as a Marketing Assistant. They strive to spread love and healing in the world through connection and education. They also design eco-friendly needle felted packers. They earned a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design, where they worked as a Peer Health Advocate for four years, and created and led Gender Venting, a group for transgender students.


Author Bio:

Edmund Green Langdell (they/them) is an ever becoming enby, whose work focuses on promoting human and environmental wellbeing through design and education. They work for Play Out Apparel as a Marketing Assistant. They strive to spread love and healing in the world through connection and education. They also design eco-friendly needle felted packers. They earned a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design, where they worked as a Peer Health Advocate for four years, and created and led Gender Venting, a group for transgender students.



How do we Build a Family

What does family mean to you? To many folks, that word brings up a lot of complicated and conflicting emotions. In some instances, family means the people who will stick with you no matter what, and show up for you when you need them. This is a deep bond of love. But in any relationship that lasts for years, there is conflict. The unhealed parts of ourselves rub up against each other, and can cause harm. In order for any relationship to maintain long term, there must be either open and honest communication that leads to everyone’s needs being met, or certain people in the relationship suppress their truth and live in the pain of being continually hurt by other people. Sometimes the people that we stick with and show up for are our biological family, and sometimes, when our truth isn’t compatible with the life that our biological family wants to live, we build a chosen family. And if we’re very fortunate, we get to have both. 


The holidays can be a tough time for many folks as it’s perhaps one of the only times of year when family comes together in a big way, which brings us into contact with people who may not accept us as thoroughly as the people we spend our day to day lives with. It can also be a joyous time as it’s a celebration of coming together with people we love who we don’t get to see frequently. 



Here’s some highlights of wins for the LGBTQ+ community in 2021:

  • Many LGBTQ+ candidates won their November 2021 elections, and for the first time in history, there will now be more than 1000 out LGBTQ+ elected officials in the US.
  • Homosexuality was decriminalized in Angola and Bhutan.
  • Same-sex marriage was legalized in Switzerland, Chile, and the Mexican States of Sonora, Querétaro, Yucatán, and Sinaloa.
  • Argentina now has legal recognition of nonbinary gender.
  • Conversion therapy was banned in India and Canada. 


Advice from the Play Out Fam:

The Play Out Fam spends a lot of time talking about how we can show up for and support our community, and we know that this can be a hard time of year for many folks. So we banded together to share our thoughts on how to navigate these next couple of weeks with as much self kindness as possible, along with the Play Out Apparel that makes us feel empowered.  This was so healing for us to write, as well! 


Advice from Maddie Dintino:

For many queer folx, family itself becomes complicated. Many of us end up navigating the gray area between being disowned and full allyship: like, we aren't rejected, but we also aren't celebrated or taken seriously. The number one priority for us is to STAY SAFE. That means physically, mentally, and emotionally. That can look different for all of us: maybe we have to stay in the closet, maybe we need to advocate for our own pronouns, maybe we just need to make it through. 

 

My advice is this: in difficult moments, ask yourself: "What will save me from the most harm?" You are entitled to speak up, stay silent, correct people, or ignore people. 


Most importantly, you are entitled to leave the house. 

If you can, leave yourself an escape (having a car, having a friend who will come pick you up, having a coffee shop you can walk to, filling up a metro card). You are always allowed to leave, and you never have to explain yourself. 

 

Lastly, create a cue for yourself to remind you of who you are. Write your true name on your wrist, maybe just your true initials to be discreet. Text a friend to give you a pep talk. Most of all, don't let your identity be swallowed by difficult family dynamics. You discovering yourself is not a tragedy, it is a triumph, and if they are mourning it then they are just plain wrong. You can know that we are here, celebrating with you, and ever-proud of you.


You discovering yourself is not a tragedy, it is a triumph, and if they are mourning it then they are just plain wrong. 

Advice from Drew Brown:

The likelihood someone in your family will say something inappropriate or will misgender you is pretty high. We understand that this can be overwhelming and It's okay to walk away from toxic conversations.  Find small ways to help you give yourself the selfcare you need. 


Wearing pieces from our gender-affirming collection can be the positive affirmation you need to get through the holidays. 


Our No Genders, Just Style bandana could be worn ascot or tied around your arm. To your family, it's just a pop of color for your outfit. For you, the message means much more.  Underneath it all add some sexy underwear to give yourself a confidence boost to help you get through Christmas dinner. Our Red or Gold pouch front Jockstrap will do just that.

 

Advice from Chlo Waldrep 

Sometimes it gets frustrating when you are used to living your life fully, authentically, and joyously and your holiday situation tamps down your spark. In what should be a time of rest and relaxation you might find yourself tense or constantly on edge. 

 

If this time of year is one you want to make special on your own terms, you can start creating individual holiday traditions or special moments with your chosen family even if you’re physically apart or busy with other obligations. Look for small rituals or moments you can set up in your life even among an unpredictable environment. I created a video playlist of TV episodes, music videos, or even small YouTube clips that evoke the coziness and rejuvenation that I seek this time of year. Being able to dedicate 5-30 minutes a day to something purely enjoyable is the best kind of “advent calendar” I could imagine. Loop in your far-away friends and have a watch party online to connect with the people you know will support you, or keep it a private moment if you’re introverted or exhausted.


Create a playlist of comfort show/songs/podcasts.

If your goal is to maintain long-term relationships with family even as they may not fully embrace your identity right now, one thing you might try is identifying their “soft spots''—places where you can find the caring, compassionate, respectful parts of those people that show they may be capable of coming around. Do they advocate for animal welfare? Do they try to buy ethically made products? Do they shovel the driveway for their neighbor? Even finding one tiny thing that shows they care for others helps prevent us from demonizing people, which can be devastating to your own sense of hope. Maybe talk to people who became allies after holding bigoted views, to see what made them change their mind. Often it was meeting someone they loved or respected who had a different sexual or gender identity to theirs. 


Of course, you must prioritize your safety and well-being before others’. And while it’s not your job to educate others, with a bit of patience you might be able to create new allies out of people you wouldn’t expect. Also know when to let go—if this begins to harm your mental, physical, or emotional health, it's time to step back knowing that there are other people who will love and support you, no extra work necessary.


Advice from Edmund Green Langdell:

Many of us have a role that we’re expected to play within our family, (the artist, the funny one, the helpful one, the well informed one, the authority figure, etc.) and if we step out of that role, or into the role that someone else sees themselves as filling then people can have some strong reactions to try to get us to behave in the way they expect. This can be challenging because we are all constantly growing and changing throughout our lives, and are multifaceted human beings with a multitude of overlapping passions, personality traits, and habits, which are constantly in flux. 


My advice for anyone navigating this dynamic is this: remember who you are. Remember that your truth, your freedom is valid, and is not dependent on what other people think of you.

My advice for anyone navigating this dynamic is this: remember who you are. Remember that your truth, your freedom is valid, and is not dependent on what other people think of you. This doesn’t mean that you have to try to convince other people of this. Just know it within yourself. There is nothing wrong with you, regardless of the reactions of others. And there are folks in the world (like us at the Play Out Fam) who love and respect you exactly as you are. 


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