Growing up in the LGBTQ+ Community

There are a lot of pressures in this world to act or be a certain way. In our teenage years, we are expected to know what we want to do for the rest of our life.

By our 20’s we are meant to be emotionally and financially ready to experience all new things such as buying a flat, a car or going to university.

But in this time we are expected to find ourselves, have a social life and develop relationships. But trying to juggle everything can become suffocating. For the majority, it’s simple. They live an ordinary life and have a few hiccups along the way. But for others, it becomes overwhelming.

When identifying as LGBTQ+ the world becomes a different place. What I mean by this is that all the worries such as going to university, starting new careers and even making new friends, the pressure amplifies.

Why? Because we live in a society where we aren’t treated as equals.

As much as society is and will change, the pressure of coming out and expressing yourself holds a much greater responsibility.

We hide identifying in the LGBTQ+ community from school friends because we are frightened we will lose everyone we care about. We worry how everyone will react and we will get bullied for just expressing our true self. Imagine trying to figure out who you are in an atmosphere that doesn’t allow you.

How are we meant to figure it all out? We can’t and by that point, we are already being singled out for being different. When we finally get the chance to leave school or college, we then enter the working world, where all of our worries will go away… wrong.

The new worries of ‘do we tell our colleagues that we identify in the LGBTQ+ community or do we hide it?’

Why do we hide it? Because we don’t want it to affect our chances of getting a promotion or being treated equally. We again have to hide our true selves in case of being discriminated or judged.

So you may be thinking, this doesn’t happen. LGBTQ+ individuals have equal opportunities and we are moaning about nothing. Let’s see, shall we?

Alex | Alex is a trans man who is pre-T & OP

Alex

 At school, were you open about your sexuality/gender? If you weren’t, why?

I was open about being a straight girlfriend, never told anyone that I wasn’t really interested in a specific gender. I didn’t tell anyone how I really felt, that I was a boy. I was scared of rejection, bullying etc.

Do you feel conscious about people judging you on your sexuality/gender?

I used to be scared. I still have my days where I’m anxious if I will be incorrectly identified as a female or something. But I am not scared of people’s thoughts and opinions anymore.

Do you feel schools offer enough support for LGBTQ+ students?

I do but at the same time I don’t. They shouldn’t just support but offer education to the LGBTQ+ community and show that you can be who you are no matter what.

Would you be open at a workplace about your sexuality?

At work I am very open, all of my colleagues are very caring, always making sure I’m feeling good about myself, that I should be proud to be who I am. Had a bit of a rocky start but it’s been over a year and I’ve never felt so comfortable in work. Be open, always be open. Maybe get to know them first before you open up in case.

Lydia | Lydia is proud to identify as queer.

lyds

At school, were you open about your sexuality/gender? If you weren’t, why?

I feel like I was open about being gay at school before I had even put the language to my own mind. I’d openly talk about my girl crushes and how I wasn’t really into boys so it must have been pretty clear to my school peers that I wasn’t straight, even if I hadn’t said the words “I’m gay” to myself yet, never mind anyone else.

Having said that, when I did finally figure it out I did come out to my friends and family and it got around the school pretty quickly. I only know that because I had kids in other years coming up to me asking “Is it true? You’re a lesbian?”

I was a little hesitant to say yes but I wasn’t ashamed, I’ve definitely become more comfortable with my identity since then for sure.

Do you feel conscious about people judging you on your sexuality/gender?

I used to feel conscious about people judging me on my sexuality, but as I’ve become more comfortable with all the things that make up myself and my identity, I don’t mind what anyone else thinks about it.

If they’re going to judge me for being a lesbian, then I’d rather know right away so I can no longer associate with them. They have a problem, not me.

Do you feel schools offer enough support for LGBTQ+ students?

In my experience, schools do not offer enough support for the LGBTQ+ students. I know my friends had queer societies where they attended school, which I think is great, but my catholic school definitely didn’t.

Being queer is just not talked about at school and to treat it as a taboo is damaging to teenagers who are at a vulnerable age. They need support to say they are valid & are not alone, not only that I think that queer societies or even including queer education would help people in figuring out their identities.

Knowing they’re not alone, I believe it would also help straight allies to understand and empathise more with their LGBTQ+ peers. Hatred and discrimination comes from fear and not knowing, so to offer support and education on queerness would promote acceptance & less ignorance all around.

Would you be open at a workplace about your sexuality?

I would be open about it if asked, but for myself it hasn’t really come up in conversation. I would never deny being gay, I just don’t tend to talk about myself whilst at work.

What support do you think society needs to offer to LGBTQ+ individuals?

Education. I had no education surrounding being queer, or being amongst queer people in society. Like I said, ignorance breeds hate and I don’t really see why educating kids of queer issues isn’t happening yet.

It would normalize being LGBTQ+, it would help individuals who may not know the language to say how they feel, it would promote acceptance in the long term because at the end of the day, queer people aren’t going away. We’ve always been here & we always will.

Karishma | Karishma identifies as lesbian and is a proud Hindu

Karishma

At school, were you open about your sexuality/gender? If you weren’t, why?

So I came out at 13 years old! I identify as a lesbian and use the pronouns she/her 🙂 I experienced a lot of homophobia so it wasn’t easy but I think I managed to inspire others to come out to as I had other girls coming up to me asking for advice!

Do you feel conscious about people judging you on your sexuality/gender?

Sometimes I do feel conscious about other people judging me but that’s only because of religion and culture but other Asians I know are openly gay so at least I have solidarity.

Do you feel schools offer enough support for LGBTQ+ students?

I don’t think schools offer enough support for LGBTQ+ as its only counselling and vague posters about being kind dotted about when I was at school which didn’t really make others be aware! Even at college it’s not a lot there which is a shame!

Would you be open at a workplace about your sexuality?

I would definitely be open at a work place, if I experience discrimination I’ll just get it reported.

What support do you think society needs to offer to LGBTQ+ individuals?

I think more education is needed in schools and colleges! An assembly or even a class lesson is needed to educate people on the spectrum of sexualities and genders!

Anna | Anna is a proud lesbian

Anna

At school, were you open about your sexuality/gender?

I wasn’t because I just didn’t really understand it at that time, I felt so alone and out of place because I didn’t know of the help out there.

Do you feel conscious about people judging you on your sexuality/gender?

Only on certain days if I’m feeling particularly low or sensitive!!

I think to just find a good role model or to just learn to love yourself. It’s a tiny part of what makes you, you. You have to live with yourself so you may as well love yourself.

Do you feel schools offer enough support for LGBTQ+ students?

No! At least not when I was at school.

Would you be open at a workplace about your sexuality?

Depending on the circumstances, not in my current job as I do feel there have been negative comments towards LGBT+ people.


So you see, many individuals feel different pressures throughout different stages in their life.

It’s a tough journey and we all experience things differently, what is important to remember is that we aren’t perfect. We may not handle all situations perfectly, but that’s ok. We have to learn to develop as a person.

So what can we do to help the LGBTQ+ community? Well, we can start to educate businesses, schools, and society to open their eyes to our lifestyle. The more they know, we are giving them all an equal chance to start to understand what we go through.


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