This is why LGBTQI folk are more likely to travel home for Christmas
BY DANIELLE MUSTARDE
Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to be a universal phenomena that, once adulthood is reached, Christmas and New Year come and go in the same time that it takes your nieces and nephews to rip open each of their 2,467 presents – approximately 12 seconds.
As the tinsel and baubles are packed away until next year and we all mentally prepare ourselves for the first full week of work, I decided to muse over a journey many of us make over the festive period: Driving Home For Queermas.
Of course, this pilgrimage doesn’t apply to everyone – but judging by the amount of people who were quite literally stuffed into the carriage of my train from London to Edinburgh on the 21 December, there’s a lot of us who do make the tinsel-tastic trip to our roots – perhaps particularly those who are LGBTQI.
As we know all too well, sadly not everyone’s friends and families are accepting of non-heteronormative relationships and identities, however here in the UK things are improving. The British Social Attitudes Survey found that attitudes to same-sex relationships have improved in recent years, with 64% in 2016 saying that they are “not at all wrong”, up from 47% in 2012.
For those of us who are LGBTQI and do have the support of our families, the long drive home for Christmas may be something many of us have in common – after all, us gays are still making our ways to The Big City.
The July 2017 National LGBT Survey found that lesbian, gay and bisexual respondents in the UK were most likely to be resident in London (guilty as charged) where a whopping 19% of respondents lived (with the southeast coming in as a close second at 15%).
This confirmed similar estimates by the Office For National Statistics (ONS) that showed London as having the highest proportion of LGB people in the UK (the -TQI, unfortunately, hadn’t been included).
The reason? According to the National LGBT Survey, some respondents described, “feeling safer moving to large cities with a significant LGBT population, like London, Brighton and Manchester. “
On a personal level, I certainly feel a lot more at ease being publicly affectionate with (read: snogging) my girlfriend here in London than I would if we were walking through one of the middle-of-nowhere-type villages in the north east where I grew up.*
*Though I usually snog her anyway.
Still, at the time of year when Mx Santa Claus is preparing to sleigh all day, many of us return to some faraway nook of this small island that we call home and, if you’re lucky, you might even come out of the other side unscathed.
I started my journey with a bunch of lovely friends in Edinburgh before picking up a rental car and “popping” to Carlisle to have lunch with an old friend and her downright adorable daughter. After that, it was a swift boost east to Newcastle upon Tyne to spend Christmas Eve with the pa, before dropping into Durham for Christmas and Boxing Day with aunties, uncles, cousins, sisters, nieces and nephews – the lot.
Next stop? The long drive back to London.
Though it was short and sweet, for the most part it was dead canny (that’s “really lovely”) and I count myself very lucky to have had those four wheels which meant I could in fact, #DriveHomeForQueermas.
As it appears many LGBTQI folk still are, I’m happy to be living in The Big City, but a December-shaped journey home is one I’ve come to realise I actually really look forward to, extended family and all.
For now though, it’s time to look forward to the new year ahead of us. So, from that same big city, a happy new year from DIVA HQ – wherever in the world you’re celebrating from ✨
Danielle was kindly provided her rental car by rentalcars.com. This piece was originally shared on the DIVA website in December 2018.
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