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The Short Version: Spiritual teacher Ram Dass famously said, “If you think you are enlightened, go home and spend a week with your family.” That’s especially true for those who identify as LGBTQIA+ or consider themselves allies and want to show their support. That’s why we spoke with influencer Mathew Boudreaux, who goes by Mister Domestic on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, to get some tips to help make this holiday season warm and welcoming for everyone.
Mathew Boudreaux, a sewing and crafting expert who goes by Mister Domestic on social media, remembers how challenging it was to be a single man in the LGBTQIA+ community. “Cringey” is how he put it.
He’s been happily married since 2008. However, he still yearns to help singles who identify as LGBTQIA+ (along with allies who are friends and family members) feel comfortable and welcome during the upcoming holiday season. Although it’s different from the sewing and crafting advice he provides online, his advice comes from years of watching people do it the wrong way.
Before he met his spouse, a close friend called and told him she had a friend who knew a gay man she wanted Mathew to meet. Mathew said he excitedly accepted, presuming that his friend knew the kind of guy he was looking for.
“So, all four of us met, which was the first and last time I trusted my friend with affairs of the heart. Essentially this was a moment of two separate straight humans each knowing a gay person and deciding to put them together,” he said. “Please don’t do that.”
Heterosexual singles and couples need to remember that everyone else doesn’t view the world the same way they do. Sometimes, people should pay extra attention to safety and inclusion in a way that involves checking in with everyone.
For example, Mathew said he remembers going to a club with his friends over the holidays years ago. Everyone would go to straight clubs, but no one wanted to join him out at a gay club.
His friends may not have realized that, even when inviting him, they were excluding him. Now, Mathew wants to share the insights he’s learned with others to help them have a brighter holiday season.
The most important thing that both LGBTQIA+ singles and allies alike can do is call out homophobia or transphobia whenever they see it. Mathew also encourages people to stand up against the same hate they see over social media.
“Provided you’re physically safe and able to do so, make a habit of calling out real-world homophobia,” he said. “This might mean having an uncomfortable conversation with a coworker, friend, or family member.”
People can set boundaries and express that it’s not OK to casually dismiss someone, say hateful things, or make jokes about people just because of who they choose to love. If hateful people can’t tolerate those boundaries, it’s perfectly acceptable to cut that person out of your life. They are disrespecting the LGBTQIA+ community and you, Mathew said.
But he doesn’t encourage responding to trolls on the Internet.
“When you see a hurtful or hateful homophobic or transphobic comment on social media, click the ‘report’ button, report the comment, and block them,” he said. “This sends a clear message to social media channels that you are not here for hate.”
The point is to dismiss those who try to normalize hate without adding to drama or causing such personal upset that it can ruin your holidays. Instead, stay positive by leaving supportive comments for the LGBTQIA+ people you follow on social media, as well as like and share their content.
Unless someone is planning on quilting a blanket for everyone on their holiday shopping list — and Mister Domestic can help with that through his SEW U online classes — they’re going to be shopping with retailers. That’s why Mathew advises people to spend money on businesses that are friendly to the LGBTQIA+ community and volunteer their time with charities that make a difference.
“How you spend your money matters. Hobby Lobby, Chick-Fil-A, and The Salvation Army are some of the brands that are very anti-LGBTQIA+,” he said. “You may love them, or you may not have heard about what they do, and that’s on you.”
Mathew said the key is to research before deciding where to spend money this holiday season. Sometimes, companies will claim to help people when their company culture is highly homophobic. Consumers can uncover plenty with a quick Google search.
The holidays are also a popular time to give back, and Mathew recommends looking for a local LGBTQIA+ friendly charity that can use a little extra help. Some communities have food pantries or groups that bring food to LGBTQIA+ singles in need. The holidays are a great time for those interested in helping queer youth to volunteer at a local PFLAG group or even start one.
Another tip is to carve out funds from your holiday budget to support end-of-year giving campaigns for national LGBTQIA+ organizations. Mathew recommends checking out Trans Lifeline, a free phone line that focuses on helping trans people in need. He also likes @transanta, The Trevor Project, and GLAAD. And people should check with their employers to see if they can enhance the gift through a workplace matching program.
If someone isn’t friends with someone who is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, they should ask themselves, “Why not?” Working through any subconscious or internalized homophobia that creates barriers to those friendships can be a holiday gift that keeps giving.
For those who want to stand up as allies, Mathew advises them to check in with their friends who may be struggling over the holiday season.
“Let us know you’re around to hang out and have tea or just talk. You don’t have to mention the holidays, just offer to spend time with us. Take us to lunch. Find a fun activity and bring us along,” Mathew said. “Even if we look like we have it all together. Even if we don’t always return your texts. Even if we sometimes say we’re busy. Respect our boundaries, of course, but also, don’t assume we’re OK. A lot of times, we aren’t, and showing up and showing you care is important.”
Along with checking in, allies should try to include LGBTQIA+ friends in their seasonal sphere — if they are interested. Ask them if they’d like to receive a holiday card or invite them over for a holiday meal. Not everyone has family that makes them feel comfortable, but friends can serve that role.
And Mathew’s final tip is to acknowledge if you slip up when it comes to connecting with LGBTQIA+ friends. Some people try to relate when they really can’t. Some people try to save or fix their problems when they face difficulties. Some people unnecessarily inject their religion into conversations that are better off without it.
“A lot of churches still believe being queer is a sin or a ‘lifestyle choice.’ This is homophobic and queerphobic and deeply hurtful to us,” he said. “If your goal in helping is to show ‘Christ’s love,’ keep it to yourself and check your privilege.”