It is in our very nature to ‘follow the crowd’, to do what ‘everyone else is doing’, to be how others want us to be. As a young person trying to establish your own identity there are so many barriers to actually being ‘Yourself’. The volume of things that can get in your way… your parents or family, your culture, your religion, your friends and peers, your work, your play and even yourself. These are tricky times. Being a young LGBTQ person is a hugely challenging time but a time to recognise that being yourself and unique is a positive thing.
I remember very clearly ‘The FEAR’. The fear of being noticed for being different, the fear of disappointing those around me, the fear of not being accepted and mostly the fear of the unknown. These feeling and barrier are all very real. Don’t get me wrong, some of them are very serious. These fears can drive us to think awful things and sometimes do stupid things, to hate ourselves and to deny who we are. Often feeding the feeling of fear can be unanswered questions and the ‘Why?’. Why am I different to everyone else? Why do my friends have it easier than me? Why do all my mates seem happy and together when I am a mess? I’ve been asked these questions by young LGBTQ people many times, but the answers are not simple. In truth your friends are probably not all happy, nothing is perfect and each and every one if us have stresses and challenges that others may not notice or see. What you must try to realise is that the things that you fear most are probably not there. What you imagine in your head is often far worse than reality. Taking that step forward towards being yourself can be a very rewarding, very empowering experience. Once you accept yourself, your differences, things become a lot easier.
Your friends and peers can often be your biggest challenges. Who knows how your friend is going to react if and when they find out you are LGBTQ. Will they still want to be your friend, how will their parents behave around you? Will your best friend think that you fancy them? Maybe you feel like people are talking about you, to be fair, some of them probably are… But if you have true friends they will stick by you and stick up for you. It’s in these times that you work out who is important to you and who was not your real friend to begin with. This can be difficult as change is not easy and it can be disappointing to find out that someone you care about doesn’t accept you. If you want small minded individuals to stop talking about you then you must not react, don’t listen and certainly don’t apologise for who you are.
Your parents and your friends parents/families are a protective bunch! Try to remember that a lot of the older generation may not have the same views, experiences or levels of acceptance as you. Unfortunately this can sometimes put pressure on a young LGBTQ person as you have to try to behave a certain way around some adults. If you are in someone else’s house, for example, then of course the rules of the house stand. If you find yourself in an environment where you feel you are not equal or accepted then I would suggest that you don’t go there. If it’s your own family that may have a problem with your sexuality or identity then remember you should only Come Out if it is safe to do so.
It is ok for you to be different, your individuality is what makes you shine! Surround yourself with friends who love and support you, manage your ‘outer gay’ if and when you need to but aside from that just try and be yourself. Being the same as your peers/friends is fine if that’s what is YOU but don’t spend your days trying to please others. Get to know the real you, face your fears and look for advice, support, fun and enjoyment in places where you are treated equally. You are not alone, there is always someone to turn to who can help you along your journey.
XX The Outing XX
#Out #ComingOut #Gay #Lesbian #LGBTQ # Queer #Support