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    The Muppets, Laverne Cox, And 13 Other People And Things That Made LGBTQ+ Folks Feel Represented

    From Harley Quinn to RuPaul's Drag Race, LGBTQ+ entertainers, authors, and activists talked to BuzzFeed about when they first saw someone like them in the world.

    Queer people don’t come into the world knowing ourselves. We look for clues around us, whether they are found in the movies and television shows we consume or a gaze that lingers a moment too long. As a young queer person, I discovered myself gradually, often in cinematic glimpses of a future to come: the homoerotic friendship of Y Tu Mamá También that culminates in a kiss dissolving the limits of possibility, the queer longing for connection that permeates A Home at the End of the World, and the barbed revolutionary romp of The Dreamers, all of which somehow slipped past my parents’ radar. Suffice it to say, I had a thing for messy bisexuals. Now a messy bisexual adult, I look at each of these as critical moments in my becoming — a journey that each of us tread as we slowly define who are we and envision who we want to be. 

    As all of us continue our chosen paths forward, BuzzFeed asked 15 LGBTQ+ people when they first saw themselves reflected back in the environment around them. In their stories of life-changing friendships, favorite books, and even a gender-ambiguous Dairy Queen dessert, it’s clear that representation isn’t just important. For many of us, it provides the language to speak ourselves into existence.

    1. Brian Michael Smith, Actor, 911: Lone Star

    Closeup of Brian Michael Smith

    2. Hans Lindahl, Intersex Advocate

    Hans Lindahl

    3. Samantha Allen, Author, Patricia Wants to Cuddle

    Samantha Allen

    4. Jennicet Gutiérrez, Co-Executive Director, Familia TQLM

    Jennicet Gutierrez

    5. Kahmora Hall, Drag Performer, Season 13 of RuPaul's Drag Race

    Kahmora Hall

    6. Fran Hutchins, Executive Director, Equality Federation

    Fran Hutchins

    7. Theo Germaine, Actor, They/Them

    Closeup of Theo Germaine

    8. Niko Stratis, Journalist, Culture Writer

    Niko Stratis

    9. Jeffrey Masters, Host, LGBTQ&A podcast

    Closeup of Jeffrey Masters

    10. Nina West, Drag Performer, Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race

    Nina West

    11. Kayla Gore, Co-Founder, My Sistah's House

    Kayla Gore

    12. Hugh Ryan, Author, The Women’s House of Detention

    Hugh Ryan

    13. Emmett Schelling, Executive Director, Transgender Education Network of Texas

    Emmett Schelling

    14. Parvesh Cheena, Actor, The Resort

    Closeup of Parvesh Cheena

    15. Kierra Johnson, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

    Closeup of Kierra Johnson