Growing up in a household where you’re not accepted for who you are can cause a strife between family members and make it seem like the world is against you. This is a common way of life for LGBTQ+ youth around the world even now in the 21st century. There should be love and acceptance in one’s own home but when there is not, we must make the most out of it. How could there be any benefits to living a life of rejection and arguments? Although it is challenging, growing up this way will strengthen you for the future.
There are a number of reasons as to why some individuals may find it challenging to accept those who identify as LGBTQ+. It may be because of religious views, the way they were brought up, a deep rooted insecurity of their own, or they simply just do not approve. Regardless of why they don’t accept these individuals, some choose to let their opinions harm others. Out of the 1.6 million homeless youth each year, 40% are LGBTQ+. This is just one of the major issues facing LGBTQ+ youth today. These individuals may be kicked out of their home, expelled from their school, fired from their job, assaulted, disowned, sent to conversion therapy, etc. Coming out can be a dangerous decision for some so we must make the world a more accepting place to ensure the safety of these people.
Identifying as LGBTQ+ can have various meanings. One may be attracted to the same gender (homosexual), men and women (bisexual), people regardless of gender (pansexual), etc. Others may be addressing their gender identity such as not conforming to a gender at all (non-binary), identifying as fluid in gender (genderfluid), or they may wish to transition from male to female or vice versa (transgender). There are so many more identities, genders, and sexual orientations than we perceive. Gender and sexuality are spectrums that we all fall somewhere on.
I grew up in a religious household and one of my biggest fears was my family finding out I was gay. A couple years ago I was forced to leave my private school for being a lesbian. Teachers saw that I would often wear a rainbow watch band and I was eventually pulled into the office with the principal and my mother to discuss this. This was how I was officially outed to my mother. The school told me that they do not accept those of the LGBTQ+ community or those who are simply just an ally. My mother was furious and it took her some time to get over it. She still isn’t completely over it yet. My father outed me to the rest of my family and moved to another state around the same time due to my parents’ divorce.
Losing so many friends and family members made me feel as if the world was crashing down all around me and I was standing in the ashes of a once peaceful existence. This isn’t the only time that I have faced discrimination simply for my sexual orientation and certainly won’t be the last. These are common hardships many LGBTQ+ individuals will face in their lifetime and, although it’s heartbreaking to live in a world like this, we must grow from it. We will harden like a callus because of these experiences and they will lead us to accomplish great things and perhaps become more involved in activism so that others will not have to suffer as we have. Even though you may not choose your family, you can choose those you surround yourself with and live amongst those who will love and accept you. But do take precautions when coming out if you still live with your family. Although you should not be ashamed of who you are, it is best to know your situation and how those around you will take it. Be safe when coming out and choose the right time so that it will not harm you. Although some people wish to tear others down, there will always be those who choose to lift others up. Because of my experiences, I have had the opportunity to surround myself with loving friends. Choose to not let your pain weigh you down but rather be your wings.
Growing up in a homophobic household presents obstacles that none should have to encounter. Use these struggles to your advantage and strengthen yourself from them. Prove those who tear you down wrong and continue to accomplish incredible things in your life and share your story to inspire and uplift others. Continue to push forward and know that pain can be healed with time.
https://www.thetrevorproject.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsI2hw6bm6gIVC9vACh3CkQWQEAAYASAAEgIC9_D_BwE If you or someone around you is suicidal or struggling with mental health, the Trevor Project can help. This resource allows you to contact someone who will not judge you but rather simply listen to you and provide the best advice and resources they can.
https://www.outlastyouth.org/resources This resource provides medical, housing, domestic violence, human-trafficking, survivor services, crisis call centres, etc for youth in the Dallas, Texas, area.