Making Memorial Day Meaningful

Holidays of all sorts can be challenging for many of the clients I work with. Extra unstructured time off, the sense that everyone but you is celebrating with friends and family, feeling disconnected from the traditional meaning of a holiday can all leave you feeling more alone and set apart.

I have especially been thinking about Memorial Day and its meaning for LGBT folks.  What is it like, this reminder that a major institution in our society, the military, still treats  some as unwelcome? Or worse.  A group I follow on Twitter, LGBT_Friends, has been honoring gay and lesbian service people today by raising awareness that some have been murdered by their peers simply because they are LGBT.  The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force states regarding the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law:

It is the only law in America that actually dictates firing people because of their sexual orientation, and creates an environment in which LGB people are not only second-class citizens, but also targets of harassment, violence and even murder.

Or what about those who were unable to enter or forced to leave the military due to their sexual orientation or transgender status? According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network , “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has resulted in  nearly 10,000 personnel discharged under the law.

No matter what your orientation or identity, this day may be painful for many reasons.
What can you do to reclaim this holiday for yourself and make it meaningful?

Is there something or someone you want to remember or honor?

Can you examine traditional holiday activities and choose those that still feel meaningful to you? Maybe you do not like parades but love a cookout.  Maybe you can use this time to remember and honor someone who made a contribution of any kind.  You get to choose what works for and resonates with you!

Wishing you an enjoyable and personally meaningful holiday,

Kathleen Young, Psy.D.

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This entry was posted in Bisexual, Gay, Hate Crimes, Holidays, Homophobia, Lesbian, LGBT, Oppression, Psychologist, Queer, Sexual Orientation, Therapy, Transgender, Trauma, Violence and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Making Memorial Day Meaningful

  1. justme says:

    Holidays used to really trigger me (and still do sometimes)

    I grew up with lots of hype and excitement about how the holiday would be celebrated. And sometimes it was fun. But usually there was some kind of uproar, chaos, emotional upheaval from my parents.

    As an adult I had lots of anxiety approaching almost any holiday that was hard to understand. I also had lots of expectations of how it “should” go, which often led to disappointment.

    Finally getting that it was about old stuff let me start creating holidays traditions that I can enjoy now.

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