LGBTQ People Are Sharing Things They Want Young Queer Kids To Know
"You don’t need to figure everything out right now. Not knowing is okay."
"You are 100% valid; don’t ever forget that those feelings you have are normal (not a sin). If you need to stay in the closet for safety reasons, hang in there, and get out as soon as you can. Look into getting some good therapy, 'cause the trauma is there. You are not alone; you have a fantastic LGBTQ+ family here for support."
"Don't fight your feelings because you're afraid of them. I wasted a lot of time fighting who I was and missed out on some amazing things because of that. Embrace it, and learn to love yourself for the amazing person that you are."
"Commit to loving yourself, and not necessarily to a version of yourself you think other people expect. If you identify as a butch lesbian but see a super-cute dress and really want to wear it, you’re allowed to wear the dress."
"To my trans and non-binary babies, your identity is not any less valid if you have to withhold your preferred pronouns for your personal safety. If you're in a situation that would put you in a dangerous or even just uncomfortable position, it's OK not to ask people to use them. Love you 💕."
"Don’t be ashamed to come out as one thing and then change your mind later. Ultimately, labels are arbitrary and as you grow as a person — it’s normal to want to experiment and change your mind. At the end of [the] day, your happiness and comfort in your own skin is paramount."
"Don't be afraid to be your authentic self. I didn't come out until I was in my late thirties for fear of what others thought. I believed my friends and family would never understand and abandon me. I feel more loved (by my friends and family as well as the increased love I felt for myself) since being my true self. It may seem like the hardest thing to do, facing your fears, but the benefits are certainly worth it."
"Don't hate yourself. I know it's a long hard journey to acceptance, whether it be finding acceptance amongst loved ones or accepting yourself. I had so much hate spoon-fed to me growing up that I internalized it and hated others for being able to be themselves. Now I recognize it as internalized self-hatred, but I wish I had been less jealous of others being able to display their pride and tried to accept myself more."
"Learn your history. Queer history is far from being included in school books, so seek it out yourself. If you can understand the struggles of the people that came before you, you'll realize you're not alone. Knowing that there are queer elders tells us that we have a future where we can be happy. We have existed for thousands of years, and we're here to stay."
"Radical self-love will maximize the joy you experience in this lifetime. Being queer isn’t just about your sexual orientation and/or gender, it also represents a beautiful ethos of character and culture that has defined a people’s impact and contributions to society.
Find a chosen family who will love and support you regardless of conditions. Find a mentor that you can go to for guidance."
"Gender euphoria is so much more important (and helpful) than dysphoria. Follow the euphoria while you explore, because gender is so deeply unique and personal, and you deserve to be happy with yours."
"You don't owe anyone your coming out...especially if you are in an unsafe environment. Never let anyone make you feel ashamed for not being out."
"If you're bisexual, don't allow people to erase your 'queerness' just because you are dating or married to someone of the opposite sex. I am married now, and people just assume I have turned straight. Uh, nope. Don't be afraid to remind people of this if they get it wrong."
"You don't have to go to Pride stuff if you don't want to. Don't feel pressured. You're not any less queer if you don't like noisy events, crowded parades, and parties."
"This is specific to asexuals: You’re not broken or mentally ill. You’ll probably find people saying, 'There’s something wrong with you,' or 'You’re a prude,' but that’s not true! Remember, you know yourself better than them."
"You might lose a lot in coming out (everything that comes with straight privilege), but you'll gain a lot too. For me, I gained a future I could actually look forward to."
"My oldest sister came out when she was 14, and she says this all the time since: It's OK to say, 'Back off,' when your family and/or friends try too hard in being supportive or an ally.
They're just anxious to let you know that they support you and always will, but you can tell them you do feel supported, but they need to tone it down or give you some space. Make it clear to them that just because you're laying those boundaries doesn't mean you're rejecting their support."
"If you’re thinking of coming out, but you’re not sure if people are accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, try bringing up queer issues in conversation to try to gauge their stance on it. Only come out if it’s safe to do so!"
"Don't be scared to own it and tell people you're queer. Try and surround yourself with people who are kind and that you can trust. You are amazing, and don't ever let anyone say different, because you know it isn't true."
"You may (and probably will) feel ashamed of your identity for a bit. That’s OK. I identified as bi for years before I realized I was gay. It’s OK to change your identity, as it may change as you grow up. That’s OK. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to fit into a perfect box. What you feel best fits your identity is OK, and you don’t have to fit into a box at all. It’s your identity, and all that matters is that you feel comfortable and happy with who you are."
"You don't need to change your entire personality to fit the 'stereotype' of what your sexuality is or what gender you are. You get to decide the person you wanna be. Don't let others tell you that you're doing it 'wrong,' because you being you is the most beautiful and authentic thing in the world. Also, you don't have to figure it all out at once. Life is a journey, and you are on the most magical road of all. I love you, and things will get better."
"It's OK to avoid your extended family if they are hateful about LGBTQ+ people and the stuff they say makes you uncomfortable."
"There is no timeline and no set path on discovering who you are. Identity and sexuality can be fluid and can change over time. It's OK to question and learn yourself. Don't judge where you are in your journey based on where others are."
"One of the most healing lessons I've learned as a queer person is this: Parents are also humans too; humans make mistakes."
"Always remember, you are perfect as you are! Don’t let anyone tell you that you are any less or abnormal! You are perfect!"
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.