This year is the year I start accepting the love I deserve, and that means letting go of a lot of people who don’t love and accept me. 

Just like many trans people, I have some family members that aren’t accepting. My family is very religious and many of their reasons for not accepting me are faith-based. One of the worst moments came at Thanksgiving 2017 when my uncle wrote on Facebook that my then-girlfriend (who is now my wife) wasn’t allowed at his house for Thanksgiving by writing, “We are unable to entertain [deadname]/Atticus’s girl/male friend, to keep ‘all’ family members in a comfort zone.” 

My uncle had never met Sebastian at that point and still hasn’t. This split the family for Thanksgiving that year. My dad, who has come so far in supporting me, said they won’t be going there for Thanksgiving now, so my parents hosted a Thanksgiving at their house and whoever was accepting was welcome to attend. We had a great Thanksgiving at my parent’s house with my siblings and their children, my dad’s dad, and one of my cousins. Only one cousin decided that he wouldn’t stand by what my uncle said and decided to come to my parent’s house instead. Other family members disagreed with his statement but not enough to not attend. To me, to continue to go to my uncle’s house after that statement made you complicit. 

I have a female cousin I was close to growing up but we recently had a falling out over my identity that was a long time coming. Ultimately she feels that my identity is a choice and doesn’t agree with my choices. 

It wasn’t until recently that I learned how to stand up for myself. I’m older, bolder, and I have a fierce and supportive wife by my side and I’m not going to allow anyone to disrespect me anymore. I’m tired of being kind to people who don’t accept me exactly as I am. I’m tired of compromising my mental health for the sake of not rocking the boat at family gatherings. 

I’m tired of being around people who are nice to my face but then say to my parents, “I probably wouldn’t go to their wedding even if I was invited.” My dad accurately told this person, “Well, you weren’t invited.” I’m tired of people who spew hate and then hide behind the bible as their defense. 

My wife is helping me learn that I deserve love, respect, and acceptance. I don’t need to accept tolerance or a nice facade. 

It really hurts when my family members don’t accept me. It really hurts me to tell my cousin not to talk to me anymore because I can’t have her toxicity in my life. I know that it’s the right decision for me, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. I lost a friend. 

It’s OK to cut people out of your life. It doesn’t mean it won’t hurt. You don’t have to feel bad because the mere presence of you and your wife splits the family at Thanksgiving. It’s not your fault they don’t accept you and you don’t have to take the blame. It’s their fault for hurting you. It’s OK to prioritize yourself and your mental health. You can choose to only surround yourself with people who love you and accept you exactly as you are.