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Going Home for the Holidays Post-Election

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Going away to college can put miles in between students and their families, add to that the gulf created by different political views and it’s easy to understand why some students aren’t looking forward to going back home for winter break.

“I mean I understand that people need a break from school and everything but, like, University is my escape of the most more exhausting task of being at home,” Smoyer said. “For a lot of people I guess it’s the opposite. I’d much rather spend time sitting in my dorm than, you know, spending my winter break with my family.”

Smoyer is a sophomore studying linguistics at Ohio University. For him, being open about his sexuality creates tension back at home –especially with his father.

He voted for Trump and he was very happy about Trump winning. He knows that I’m bisexual. He knows how close I am to the LGBT community and how involved I am in it,” Smoyer said. “It’s really uncomfortable being around him knowing that, like, he willingly voted for a man whose running mate was Mike-goddamn-Pence and had the gall to pretend that, like, there wasn’t some conflict there.”

Smoyer plans on spending more time at his mom’s house over break because of his political differences with this dad. For him, and sophomore- Maddi Rotunda, it’s these differing views that makes being open to talk about certain topics more difficult.  

“I think for a long time I totally just, I just, tried to agree with everything my parents said. And then got to a point when I was just tired of feeling like my voice wasn’t actually heard so I decided to just speak out against what I felt like they were saying,” Rotunda said. “Like against the subtle tones of bigotry and racism that they were spewing towards me. It’s caused a lot of tension between us. In the end we always seem to get back to, like, ‘oh, we’re family. It’s fine.’”

For Smoyer, some of his family’s hardline political views are even harder to deal with — because he is out and open with them about his sexuality.

At least you should have some sort of empathy for your family, but it doesn’t seem like a lot of people did. They weighed the pros and cons of voting for a president and vice president who are so vocal, Who are pretty anti-LGBT, and they thought it didn’t bother them enough not to go through with it,” Smoyer said. “And it’s upsetting, and it’s really difficult to talk to my family about this, particularly my father’s side of the family, because they’re the more hard-core conservatives. My mother, I don’t think she voted at all.”

But for Rotunda — her family’s conservative views on LGBTQ issues means she’s nervous to even talk to her parents about her sexuality.

It’s frustrating because there of been times when I’ve tried to talk to my parents about it. First, I am upset about what they’re saying just because it’s a big issue I wish people didn’t feel that way. There’s that. But then there’s also that personal element to it where makes me more scared to actually come out to them,” Rotunda said. “And so there have been times where I’ve just started I’m talking to them and they’re like, ‘why are you crying about this?’ Like, ‘why is it your issue?’”

It’s important to realize that all families have their differences. For LGBTQ individuals, the election results may mean taking different approaches to how they are going to spend their time away from Ohio University.