Accepting Yourself Is The Best Place To Start
Identity. As an LGBT youth, this is just one of the many things on the list of things to struggle with. However, although the journey may seem daunting, two students share how they were able to come to terms with their identity, and how the journey has really only just begun.
For the LGBT community, questions about identity are the beginning of a long- and sometimes harrowing- journey.
“I remember kissing a boy in pre-k,” sophomore Jamel Hairston said. “I guess that was when I started questioning myself. It’s like you do this thing that everyone else says is wrong or wierd, so you can’t help but start wondering if you’re doing something wrong.”
For some, the fact that people are always trying to call out others on something about them that is different doesn’t help much with trying to feel comfortable in your own skin.
“When I was in elementary school, people always asked me if I was gay,” Junior Danielle Lawson said. “I didn’t even know what the word meant. But once I did, it started answering a lot of questions that I had about myself.”
Actually coming to terms with yourself sometimes takes something big, or something small. For Jamel, it was a small realization in middle school.
“When I was in middle school, I was getting picked on a lot and it made me really upset,” Hairston said. “But then, one day I realized that I am who I am and that I can’t change.”
Having familial support for LGBT youth is an important part of the process, and is often a reason some are afraid to come out in the first place.
“My parents don’t really know, but my mom tries to low-key tries to bring it up sometimes,” Lawson said. “I guess I don’t want them to know-not because I think they’ll be mean about it, but because it makes things a lot easier for us all.”
Although coming out can sometimes seem like it might be the end of the world, sometimes it’s a lot easier than you think it is.
“I never really had to come out,” Hairston said. “People normally assume because of how high my voice is.”
For others, coming out isn’t even something on their to-do list.
“People normally assume, but I don’t even think it’s that big of a deal. It’s not something I have to announce to the world or tattoo across my forehead,” Lawson said. “Like, yeah this is who I am, but I’m not going to go around wearing rainbows all the time or whatever. I just don’t think it’s that serious.”
Knowing that there are so many other people out there struggling with their identity is something that keeps the LGBT community open to share their stories and to be able to inspire others.
“Just don’t care what other people think,” Lawson said as advice to struggling LGBT youth. “It’s who you are, and if other people don’t like it, that’s on them.”
Want to come out but need a little inspo? Try watching these videos:
Troye Sivan’s Coming Out video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoL-MnXvK80
Connor Franta’s Coming Out video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYodBfRxKWI
Keiynan Lonsdale’s Journey:
Ricky Martin About Coming Out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oBraB9goXI