Thanksgiving is complicated. First, and most obviously, how can we continue to celebrate a colonialist holiday that hinges on erasing the violence done to Native Americans, including present-day violence including the missing Native women and the Dakota Pipeline (DAPL), which, by the way, just fucking leaked thousands of gallons of oil, like everyone at Standing Rock said it would?
Then there’s the family issue of celebrating holidays, including Thanksgiving—when you’re queer and/or trans, family holidays can be another kind of hell.
Maybe you’re estranged from parts of your family members; maybe your family lives in a more conservative area than you do and traveling doesn’t feel safe; maybe your family doesn’t accept your partner(s); maybe your family is super awkward about queer stuff; maybe your family misgenders and deadnames you; maybe you aren’t out to your family; maybe you have queerphobic, transphobic, misogynistic, or racist relatives, regardless of how out or not you are. (I realize a lot of you straight and cis folks out there do have problematic relatives, too, especially if you’re also marginalized somehow in the context of your family, and I see you.) So, you’re like, hey, everything is closed; it feels like everyone else is having a hot meal with their families and I don’t want to be alone, so you go to your family or gather your chosen family for a Friendsgiving but you’re like, damn, we’re still celebrating some White Nonsense holiday.
What to do?
Here are some links for rethinking Thanksgiving history, supporting Native American folks, and helping out queer kids without places to go for the holidays.
“The True History & Foods of Thanksgiving” on The Table Underground. (50 minute audio interview with accompanying article)
Aimee Levitt. “How culinary propaganda from a women’s magazine made Thanksgiving a thing.” The Takeout.
Andrea Eidigner. “Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada?” Unwritten Histories.
Anna Brones. “Using Food to Change the Thanksgiving Narrative.” Foodie Underground.
NativeGiving.org – get connected to Native NPOs
Feast on Equality – a fund that provides support for the University of Louisville’s LGBT student population, which began as an alternative Thanksgiving meal for students estranged from their families. Donate or attend a fundraising event here.
Donate to your local LGBTQ youth center who provide meals, community, housing, and/or connection to social services all year. Here are some in Seattle: Street Bean Coffee Roasters, Lambert House (full disclosure: my partner volunteers there), ISIS House. If you have any recommendations in your own area, please leave a comment.
If you’re going to participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, buy local and support queer-, women- and POC-run businesses.
Today, we’re making pumpkin cookies because I think a lot of Thanksgiving food, especially pumpkin pie, is kind of gross and maybe you do, too? And if not, it’s cool, you can still have your pie; I’m not here to yuck your yum. Soft pumpkin cookies are always a good choice for any autumn celebration, as you can see from the spooky backdrop. (My year revolves around the holy trinity of Halloween, Pride, and New Year’s.)
For this recipe, I highly recommend roasting a pie pumpkin to get the best texture and flavor in your puree, but if that’s not in the cards for you, canned pumpkin is just fine. In fact, this recipe came to my family from the back of a Libby pumpkin can, and we added more spice because, well, why wouldn’t you?
Thoughts and prayers for surviving this holiday season, folks. Hold space for each other.
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Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Adapted from Libby’s “Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies”
Yields ~36 cookies
½ cup (1 stick, 112 g) butter, softened
1-½ cups (300 g) sugar
1 cup (225 g) pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-½ cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
Optional: sprinkles for decoration (I used Geeky Hostess’s Tree Sprinkles)
Stand mixer or handmixer
Cookie sheets (2-3)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF / 175ºC.
- In medium bowl combine dry ingredients; set aside.
- In large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla; beat until light and creamy.
- Add dry ingredients; mix well.
- Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased cookie sheets. Smooth tops of cookies.
- Optional: add sprinkles!
- Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.