Having your family and loved ones accept you for who you really are is fundamental to living a happy life. We’re social animals, after all, and community support is incredibly important. On the flip side, rejection and being shunned, according to some scientists, can lead to long-term pain and increased sadness, as well as anger.
Queer, trans, and non-binary model ‘Rain Dove’ Dubilewski, from Brooklyn, went viral after they shared the text messages they exchanged with their relatives over more than a decade. The messages show how their loved ones’ reactions to them being different changed massively since 2008. It’s heartwarming.
From getting hate to receiving lots of love and full acceptance, Rain Dove was eventually welcomed back with open arms into the home that they were forced to leave so many years ago. Have a read through Rain Dove’s text messages yourselves, dear Pandas, and see the shifts in thinking as time went by.
Bored Panda reached out to Rain Dove who was nice enough to answer our questions. Scroll down for our full, in-depth interview with them to learn about what their life is like now, what they accomplished in 2020, and what advice they’d give anyone who’s losing support at home.
Non-binary model Rain Dove showed their Instagram followers how their text messages with their relatives changed over more than a decade
Acceptance from their relatives wasn’t forced
“At this point in my life, the beautiful thing is that I’m far more autonomous than I was before. I don’t ‘need’ the acceptance of my blood family to survive. Or thrive,” Rain Dove told Bored Panda. “I’ve had years of existing in my own strength paired with the wisdom of affirmation that it has been worth living for love instead of approval. I’ve laughed a lot, had great romances, and found joy when they said it wasn’t possible—I’ve proven that their displeasure was nothing more than that. THEIR displeasure, but not my own.”
They continued about how their relatives changed: “This in a way has made the acceptance of my relative something that I treasure far more. Because it is a gift that wasn’t forced or fought over. It’s given not as an ultimatum but as a genuine gesture. In fact, this year was the first year ever we exchanged gifts over the holidays—they got new pillows and I got a nice bottle of bourbon.”
“Freedom is coming soon”
The model gave everyone, struggling with their family and stuck at home, some genuine advice from their heart about what to do. “For anyone finding themselves in a space where they are still in the home of those who do not respect them or use their pronouns/sexuality labels I want to let You know that the people You are immediately surrounded by are not Your only family. We are SO excited to meet You and celebrate You as You are,” they said.
“Every day that You wake up and exist in a space that may not want You to gives You permission to tell others it’s possible. You are gaining the wisdom of how to. Please hang on because one day Your autonomy will come and with it You will be able to guide others like Yourself. You will be able to inspire them and save their lives.”
Rain Dove was honest that it might take your family a while to reflect on how you want to be perceived. So have patience. “You have had Your whole life to process who You are, they may need some time to unravel all they have known to know something new. It SHOULD be a given that we are immediately embraced for finding ourselves and our truths. However, there’s sometimes a mourning process that occurs in which while it may seem others are questioning You for who You are—they ACTUALLY are questioning themselves for who they are. They have to take time to reassess and reeducate.”
The model explained that this process can be painful, but that’s alright. They also said that people should only choose to come out when they feel safe to do so and feel it’s the right moment. “There’s no time limit. It’s actually a vulnerable gift of information You are giving so others can understand You—and, ultimately, love You. Lastly, let go of trying to control how they perceive You. By letting go of their validation You validate Yourself even more because You say that Your identity doesn’t hinge on their perspective. Let them go on their journey and protect Yourself. Freedom is coming soon and we can not be more excited to have a meal with You and welcome You.”
Moving out takes preparation which takes time, so have patience
Rain Dove was practical about what it takes to move out of your home if you feel that your relationship with your relatives is strained. Preparing to move out of a “toxic space” takes time, effort, energy, and finances.
“It doesn’t always happen immediately. Do a little bit every day, contact resources quietly, look up dream jobs, look up educational opportunities to achieve those jobs, reach out, create vision boards about your ultimate living space and even meals You want to cook for yourself. One thing that can help get Folx through time is to envision where we are told no vision could exist. You’ll be surprised what comes true,” they said.
2020 was a year full of volunteering and helping others
Rain Dove also opened up to Bored Panda about what 2020 was like for them and what they expect 2021 will bring. “2020 was an incredible year. I started it by volunteering with fire clean-up crews in Australia and am ending it working with the NHS to deliver medication and groceries to shielding seniors and COVID-19 patients. My modeling work went from photoshoots and runways to social media and IG lives,” they said.
Like many of us, the model spent 2020 going inwards, learning more about communication with others, and reevaluating their relationship both with other people and the world.
“The most difficult part was not COVID19—it was assisting those who contacted me about being stuck in lockdown with families, partners, and roommates who didn’t accept them. They felt trapped and scared—it was hard to not be able to hug them. I could only keep saying that freedom is coming. But the best part of 2020 was that it clarified what I am here to do on the planet. I have never been more excited to be an activist as well as a performer in the entertainment industry.”
2021 is looking to be a great year for Rain Dove and everyone they support: “Coming up this year I have a few great projects creating safe spaces for those who feel alone with Folx like the Visible team and Zalando. I’ll be releasing a project for A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab featuring a fully intersectional cast with a disabled lead actor (my first Exec Producer/Directorial debut!), and of course, I’ll be hosting a free Friday Zoom until June for parents who have questions about their partners or kids regarding intersectional ties. No question too offensive. Come as You are. I will not judge. Just DM to register.”
The model’s grandma was the first person to accept them after they came out
Image credits: raindovemodel
Rain Dove’s Instagram post got nearly 21k likes since being posted on December 10 and sparked some hope that love will, eventually, overcome and conquer everything. And that family support will come out on top.
The story is positive not just for the LGBTQ community, but for everyone who’s ever had fundamental disagreements and door-slamming fights with their loved ones. No matter how much you think your relationship with your mom, dad, siblings, or other family members might be wrecked, there’s always a way to make it work. Now those are the warm and fuzzy feelings that you want during the winter holidays.
Of course, it’s naive to think that everyone will suddenly be on your side. As Rain Dove explains, not everyone has come around, but those that have reforged the bonds that were broken between them into something stronger. “Time may not always change everything, but often love will. Respect Your boundaries but be love. It will win.”
Rain Dove works in the fashion and film industries, and is an LGBTQ activist, according to their Instagram profile. They also believe in not using labels and that there are no limits. You can Bored Panda’s earlier post about Rain Dove right here.