Remember the 1990s? (Were some of you even alive in the '90s?) For LGBTQ+ teens coming of age during this time there was certainly less worldwide acceptance and media representation than there is today.
Still, queer teens growing up in the late '90s had plenty of pop culture icons, movie/TV shows, and fashion trends to latch onto. So let's take a stroll down memory lane and look at the things that influenced a generation of LGBTQ+ adolescents.
If you were a queer teen in the late '90s, odds are that you...
1.Watched "The Puppy Episode" of Ellen and were secretly elated when Ellen DeGeneres proudly proclaimed to the world, "I'm Gay!"
2.Secretly chatted with other LGBTQ teens using America Online (and got the disk with 500 free hours sent to your house almost every week in a pile of junk mail).
3.Dressed as a Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger every year for Halloween, if only to show off the spandex.
4.Always played as Princess Peach in Super Mario Bros 2. And you told your friends you picked her because she could jump the farthest, but deep down you just loved her style.
5.Frosted your tips and spiked it using Bed Head hair gel or some other gel product (and were lucky that you didn't pull your hair out in the process).
6.Were a fan of RuPaul long before she was a TV mainstay, and stayed up late to watch her talk show on VH1.
7.Rocked out in your room to Melissa Etheridge's "Come To My Window," (who was one of the few out artists around in that time) dreaming of the day your same-sex crush would sweep you off your feet.
8.Searched your local Blockbuster Video high and low for the few LGBTQ films that they were actually allowed to carry (such as Personal Best, My Own Private Idaho, and the Boy's Life series).
9.Were either "Team Britney" or "Team Christina" and had definite FEELINGS when the latter won the "Best New Artist" Grammy in 2000.
10.Similarly were either on "Team Michelle Kwan" or "Team Tara Lipinski" at the '98 Winter Olympics. You told your family you loved the athleticism of figure skating but deep-down were obsessed with the fashion and music choices.
11.Watched Buffy The Vampire Slayer religiously and spent hours debating with strangers online whether Buffy should end up with Angel or Spike.
12.Perused the "Gay & Lesbian" aisle at Barnes & Noble (while pretending to look for the latest Animorphs installment) before heading over to the periodicals section to see if they had the newest issue of XY in stock.
13.Got one ear pierced at the mall, but then heard conflicting reports from your classmates as to whether the left or right ear was the "gay side."
14.Rushed home from school just in time to watch the latest episode of The Rosie O'Donnell Show and were thrilled when the cast of a broadway show would perform.
15.Eagerly anticipated the latest issue of the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog because you loved looking at all the "fashion."
16.Saw Titanic in the movie theaters multiple times, and couldn't decide whether you had a crush on Kate or Leo (or both!)
17.Joined your school's show choir and/or your local community theater. Nobody in these groups was really out yet but it was a safe space to express your artistic self.
18.Told all your innermost secrets to your pet Tamagotchi, who was always there and never judged you. Then you shed a small tear when it flew back to its home planet.
19.And finally, and most importantly, you survived the '90s and became the amazing thriving person you are today. GO YOU!