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Unwrapping: Black Gay Men and the Unwanted Gift of Holiday Depression


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For many, Christmas represents the promise of peace and goodwill, but behind the decorations and family traditions is a dark underpinning triggered by the holiday season. This sadness, often referred to as holiday depression, can be incredibly challenging for LGBTQ+ people who experience rejection from their given family based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity. So while most Americans are preparing to execute their holiday traditions, others are preparing to wage an internal war under the societal expectation of holiday cheer.


For Chancey Daniel, 31, a Marietta, GA native and doctoral student now residing in Montgomery, AL, the month of December is a painful reminder of the loss of his mother to multiple myeloma and his diagnosis of stage four throat and lung cancer a few years after her death.


“It [depression] comes around November because Thanksgiving and Christmas are never the same,” Daniel says, referring to the season his mother fell gravely ill after battling cancer three times before ultimately succumbing to the disease in February 2013.


“This third time when she got sick, she just didn't look the same. Her hair was gone. I hate to say it, but I could just see death,” he says.


Daniel tells The Reckoning that he was assigned the responsibility of deciding to remove his mother from life support and to end her suffering after a complicated surgery.


“I pulled the plug on my mom,” he says.


At that moment, Daniel says everything in his life changed.


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