LGBTQ+ People Are Sharing Very Honest Things That No One Tells You And That They Wish They'd Known When They Were Younger
"STIs are not something to be embarrassed about — get treated."
...we also got a lot of advice that was very honest and frank — basically advice about more serious life things that younger queer people don't normally hear. Below are some of the things LGBTQ+ people shared that no one really tells you:
"While being outed might feel like the end of the world, you will get through it. I have been outed by family and friends, and while it definitely sucked every time, I didn't explode, I didn't burst into a column of flames; I survived. Being queer can sometimes feel like a matter of survival, but in all honesty, you will be so much happier if you embrace who you are and who you love."
"You can be fat and queer! There is a really strong narrative in books, films, TV, and media in general that the majority of queer people are white, thin, and able-bodied. Queer people are just like everybody else in that they look just like anybody else! Growing up as a teen in the early '00s was shit for diverse queer representation. It was a narrative mostly dictated by white cis men, and I didn't see anyone who looked like me. Growing up fat was difficult enough, but growing up definitely not straight added a whole other layer."
"If you don't feel comfortable doing something sexually with somebody, it's okay to say no. Trying new things is great, but everyone has their own personal limits, and you should not feel pressured into doing something you don't want to. Oftentimes, when you're first exploring your sexuality, you might feel like you need to do something before you're ready to."
"It's okay to not 'just know' what your sexuality is. I grew up around people who 'just knew' they were straight, which was then followed by attendance at a liberal college where people 'just knew' they were gay. Don't feel less than anyone else if it takes you time and some exploration to figure out where you fall on the sexuality spectrum. The whole point of growing is that you learn things you didn't know before. And don't let anyone — straight or queer — make you feel like you don't belong because your sexuality was a journey and not a preprogrammed destination."
"STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are real, and you don't just get them from anal sex. They are also not something to be embarrassed about — get treated."
"If you're gay and sexually active, you need to take charge of your sexual health. Make sure you get checked regularly for STDs/STIs (sometimes STDs/STIs can have no symptoms, which means you can unknowingly pass them to people you're hooking up with). Also, there are drugs like PrEP and Descovy out there that can protect against HIV, and while they can be very expensive without insurance, many states have programs that can get them to you at a very low cost or free."
"Queer relationships are just as boring or interesting as straight ones."
"Stay away from dating apps like Grindr or Tinder until you're over 18. It all seems exciting and new and fun while you're exploring your sexuality, but it's not worth the trouble (not to mention the creeps) that you can run into. Also, be super careful with your nudes...too many of my friends have landed in legal trouble for sexting with people during senior year when half the class is 17 and half the class is 18."
"Anal sex is not the be-all and end-all of gay sex, despite what we see in porn. Wanking and sucking have their place in sex among men."
"Anal sex needs three T's: technique, trust, and time. And when I say 'technique,' I mean lube. Lots of it."
"Asexual is not just 'being a virgin' or 'not liking sex.' It’s a real and valid sexuality, no matter how you feel about sex. Don’t let exclusionists tell you otherwise. You are always welcome in the queer community."
"I felt a lot of pressure to come out when I was younger. I was in a peer group of people in high school who were discovering their sexualities and who felt so confident in themselves. That just didn’t happen for me. I had anxiety and depression in high school and felt very unsure of a lot of things. I eventually decided to come out to my parents and brother as bisexual a few years ago and wasn’t met with the best reactions. I just haven’t been ready to tell anybody else.
"As more time has passed, I’ve realized bisexuality isn’t even a label that seems to fit me; my sexuality has been fluid, and I’m just attracted to who I’m attracted to.🤷🏻♀️ It’s okay to not officially come out if you’re not ready. It’s okay to still question your sexuality, even if others around you are confident in theirs. It may feel as if you’re under pressure at times to come out, but it’s ultimately your life, and it’s okay to go at your own pace."
"I knew I was gay at a young age when I developed a crush on Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (yes, Shredder). I also knew that I didn’t have anyone to ask questions or talk to about this. I grew up with a homophobic family — with gay slurs thrown around. Later in life, I had a sibling physically attack me many times to 'toughen me up' because I was 'acting queer.'
"School wasn’t any better. I’d hear the same anti-LGBT rhetoric and teasing. At the end of my high school years, I built the courage to come out to my only friend, one of 12 years. He wanted nothing to do with me after that. So throughout my childhood, teenage years, and even my early adult years, I felt alone. I felt like I couldn’t be me and there was something wrong with me. I felt like I couldn’t connect with other people.
"I really struggled with all of it. Alone. Had some really dark days, long bouts of depression, and a few suicide attempts. So the message I wish I could have gotten myself but can share with others is that you will eventually find people who truly love and support you. And you will eventually find yourself being able to happily express who you are. I eventually did. I came out to a coworker. Was beyond terrified, but it ended up being the best decision ever. Because after nine years, they are still one of my best friends and are always there for me and help build me up. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m comfortable proudly expressing who I am to other people. And I integrate LGBT representation into my preschool classroom, which my school parents are fully supportive of. Eventually you do find people who truly love and support you, as well as you proudly expressing who you are!"
"Being queer is not about being only masculine or only feminine. Don't shame others."
"Taking poppers is risky. Educate yourself."
"Your sexual and gender identities are only a part of who you are. Exploring those aspects of yourself is incredibly important but should not be all-encompassing. Give time and space to focus on other parts of your life too. Most importantly, do what you have to do to stay safe."
"The LGBTQIA community is fantastic and has done a lot of good, but never let it change the fundamental makeup of who you are. I have been ridiculed by members of the community about things such as my body image, my die-hard passion for football, and decision not to partake in club culture. It's great to have a community that has your back, but never feel that you have to change and become something you're not. Embracing who you love is important, but remembering what you love and why you love it is just as essential. And chances are, you'll find other LGBTQIA people who have other interests in common with you!"
"Just because you're not into things like RuPaul's Drag Race and going to gay clubs or bars does not mean you're missing out on the 'gay experience.' Conversely, you also shouldn't shame or look down on gays who are into those things and categorize them as 'stereotypical' or 'femme.' Just like any group, gays can have varying interests — and yes, sometimes they intersect. I like watching Drag Race and going to gay bars, and also camping and basketball."
"Domestic abuse also exists in queer relationships. Get help if that happens."
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.