We will be sharing some stories from our volunteers about their life experiences as LGBT+ people. Next up is another volunteer’s Story:
What was your experience of being a young LGBT+ person like (whether or not you were ‘out’)? I wasn’t out as a young person, technically I’m still not but I will come to this later. I experienced a lot of bullying because I was different. I got called gay all the time because I was different from everyone else and they couldn’t put any other label on me. There really was nobody else like me, a male who had my personality and interests. I tried my hardest to be masculine by trying to play football (very badly which is laughable now) I even collected cards at one point (I hate football). I even remember peoples parents making comments about me one referring to me as being like Lily Savage (Paul O’Grady’s drag persona). The teasing and bullying was never too severe but it did really hurt my confidence and changed me as a person. It also made me want to be heterosexual and to suppress any contrasting feelings I may have.
When/how did you first ‘come out’ and what was it like? I’m technically not out, although anyone who knows me knows I am not heterosexual. I got so tired as a young person getting labelled I ended up really disliking labels. I label myself as queer because I see it as an umbrella term and to me it just means ‘not heterosexual’. I also dislike ‘coming out’ because I personally don’t think my sexuality is something that everyone needs to know, heterosexual people don’t have to ‘come out’ so I don’t feel the need to either. I don’t lie if someone asks me my sexuality but I don’t see why anyone needs to know unless they are looking for a relationship with me. However, I totally understand why people do ‘come out’ and would never criticise anyone for doing so, if they are comfortable with it.
What advice would you give your younger self? I would tell myself to accept myself and to not try and change for other people. To stop caring about what other people think and to own my identity and value my uniqueness. That a lot of people won’t understand, including some of your family but if you’re ever to be truly happy you have to be unapologetically yourself. People will treat you differently and won’t always be kind, but that says who they are and not who you are.
What advice would you give young LGBT+ people today? I would tell them to just be themselves. Do whatever you want as long as your not hurting yourself or anybody else. There is only one of you, you’re unique and have great value in this world. To express themselves and do what they love, don’t let anyone try to diminish your hopes and dreams. If you try and suppress who you are you’ll live to regret it. Don’t take life too seriously, have fun and enjoy yourself! Also If you are struggling in any way, there is help out there. Please don’t hesitate to get help when you need it, there are kind people in this world that can change your life.
What is the best thing about being LGBT+? That the majority of the community is non judgmental and open minded. Not only when it comes to sexuality but also with life. Also the fact that there is a community that supports everyone LGBT+ I have kept this quite short and sweet, I could honestly write a book on my experiences. If you feel I could add more which may be helpful I’d be happy to do so. Also feel free to fix any errors there may be.