Dr. Anna Huff and Dr. Teresa Reyes Castillo
Being Centered Psychological Services, PLLC
The holidays raise a lot of emotions, in general, among families and friends. The time of year can be stressful and pressured for several reasons, including struggles within relationships whether they are intimate or not. Adding another layer of discomfort is coming out to family members or friends or simply inviting a new partner to the holiday gathering, which could be a feat of its own. The stigma is often present and the related shame of hiding who you innately are can be strong. Also, the process of coming out can happen in layers - telling certain people first and easing your way into being openly out.
There is no right or wrong answer, and this truly depends on your own comfort level, as well as, and maybe unfortunately so, keeping yourself safe. The holidays may also raise pressures from your partner or demands that may seem unmanageable. In these times, you matter: your thoughts, your feelings, your opinions matter. This time of the year can bring people together and be joyful. This starts with your acceptance and comfort within yourself.
Interestingly enough, a recent conversation arose between myself and my wife and partnering psychologist, Dr. Reyes Castillo. How do you tell a new group that you’re married? Do you say it up-front, so that everyone knows? Or do you wait until the topic arises sometime in the future?
Really, it is up to your own comfort level. Communication on this topic with your partner is important, so that you are both on the same page. A word of caution - do not expect those around you to support the timing of your decision. Remember their response to you is about them and their own insecurities. It is possible you decide to tell a group up-front, and they find it odd and discomforting that you would need to make an announcement. It is possible you tell a group after you have known them for some time, and they may feel hurt or injured in some way that you did not tell them sooner. What is important in these scenarios is to do what you feel comfortable doing and to understand that you will likely receive a response from your disclosure.
Remember to love and support yourself, no matter what happens. And remember to reach out to those who support you, because you deserve the love and support.
Dr. Anna Huff and Dr. Teresa Reyes Castillo specialize in psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychological testing. They offer support to the LGBTQ community.
(203) 614-1089 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.being-centered.com
Triangle Community Center's partners at CT Fertility are dedicated to providing fertility resources for everybody, including those in the LGBTQ community and those who are HIV+.
Recently, CT Fertility penned this blog entitled Family Building for HIV Positive Men. Not many know that there are resources available for perspective parents that are HIV+. CT Fertility outlines some of the work it does for HIV+ parents below.
This piece was originally delivered at Triangle Community Center's 11th annual Visionary Party: Mardi Gras by the author, Ashlynn Summerland, who speaks about her difficult journey and experiences utilizing the programs and services available at Triangle Community Center.
There’s been a lot of tough times in my life and a lot of those times I wanted to just call it quits. I’ve been hopelessly hungry and desperately poor, with no one to turn to for help. I grew up feeling like an outsider in my own family, a family that treated me poorly because of my mental issues and the fact that I couldn't find the answers I needed in their holy buildings. The one exception to all of that was my mother, my first best friend and the first death that I would have to come to terms with.
As a kid I thought the world was all rainbows and unicorns, the best things in the world. Then reality stepped back in and my self esteem slowly faded. By the time I entered middle school everything was "my fault".The self enduced seclusion that I put myself in was my only promise of happiness. So said my young naive brain.
I carried on through the years, mostly by myself, not understanding the growing internal struggle that was growing inside of me was due to the sexuality that was who I really was. Despite being called "Sex Ed" there is a depressing lack of subjects that are covered in that class.
I never had that moment I've heard about, wherein there is a denial of self, when you discover that your sexuality is somewhere else on the sexuality spectrum AND the gender spectrum. It felt like everything made sense. I understood why my group of friends was a bunch of girls and a guy that we all agreed wasn't that bad. I also understood why I found that hot guy in school SO attractive, but the popular girl in school was just as breathtakingly beautiful, but my gender nonconforming friend was the person I ended up with.
So I finally understood myself and it made me feel happiness that I had begun to doubt was a real thing. I mean that was it right? I was happy so life would be perfect and what I've always dream of. Yeahhh, no. My life was still a struggle that I truly couldn't deal with by myself.
It was at that time that I walked through the doors of Triangle Community Center.
I was introduced to a case manager that asked me questions about me and wanted to help me become a better person. I wasn’t use to people caring about me enough to pay attention, much less help me without asking something in return. I was happy and accepted for the first time in my life because of a feeling that is nearly impossible to explain so let me put it this way.
I’ve made friends here that I would fight for and friends who would fight for me. I’ve met people who make me laugh so hard that I can’t breathe in the best way possible. I’ve found motivation so powerful that I find myself day dreaming of a bright future that holds the answer to the age old question “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
TCC makes the future a possibility for me and so many other amazing people. TCC gives us the tools we need to build our own future. One where the only limits are the ones we make. A future that proves that the LGBTQ+ community is strong and resiliant and better than the hate we’re the victims of.
The world we live in now isn’t the same one that I was born into. There’s hate for no reason and love is on life support. But with the efforts of all the people who work at TCC, love is getting stronger everyday. Love is going to everyone of the people that have helped to make TCC as strong and successful as it is. Love is going to everyone who comes though their doors and needs someone to care for them.
TCC isn’t just a community center. It’s more than just a place for case managment. It’s a place of acceptance and love. It’s a home away from home that opens it’s arm to you, regardless of gender identity, skin color or sexuality. You can be who you truly are without fear of being bullied or insulted. TCC is what lies at the end of the rainbow and it’s way better than a pot of gold could ever hope to be.
Each year, Triangle Community Center hands out five awards at the annual Visionary Party gala to the individuals and organizations who have worked tirelessly to grow and improve the local LGBTQ community in Fairfield County and in the state of Connecticut. The awards given include the Community Champion Award, the Marge Foster Commitment to Service Award, the Legacy Award, the Volunteer of the Year Award, and the Community Partner of the Year Award.
Read below about just some of the incredible efforts that 2017's honorees have put forth.