Ask a Queer Adult
Happy Pride! We’ve invited some queer adults from our community to share their thoughts and experiences with queer youth. Thank you to all who participated for your love and labor. Are you a queer person in Marin of any age looking for community and resources? Visit our friends at the Spahr Center!
“Things will get cooler, and gayer, and will work out.”
“You are valid. Your thoughts, feelings, and self expression is valid. No one can take that away from you.”
“I would like to tell myself to trust my intuition. About who I am, the way that I want to dress, the spaces and places that feel good. And keep following the good feelings – the people who listen, the people who see us, really see us, and hold us in our entirety. The places that seem to want from us, our authenticity, and the places in which we thrive only when we’re being the most honest versions of ourselves. Those places do exist. I would tell my younger self if I can’t find that place in the immediate now, to carve out the space myself and make room – others will come. James Baldwin said, “the place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it.” And honestly, others are still tryna catch up with meeeee. *wink face emoji*”
“You are worth more than what you can be for other people! you are worthwhile and whole and brilliant all on your own”
“You’ve already started to come to terms with the fact that you are not the typical guy next door. You’ve already started to whisper to yourself, “I’m gay,” in the privacy of your room or when alone at the grocery story. While it may seem scary, listen to that little voice and sing out its truth.
There will be questioning and uncertainty in your path, but as you follow the yellow brick road, you will have the guidance of mentors and friends to help you along your journey. You will find that from this uncertainty comes an unparalleled sense of love, self-love, as well as platonic and romantic.
You may worry that you are not worthy of love, but you are, so let the love in. Remember to strut to the beat of your own drum and love yourself and others like it’s what you were born to do.”
“Start taking care of your body now, start caring for your mental health now, and know that life is gonna be really, really cool.”
“Try to accept and understand yourself with compassion and joy, while also pushing yourself to grow. If you can accept your mind and body as they are you will have more energy for growth, love and humor while also contributing something meaningful to the world around you. It doesn’t have to be perfect and neither do you.”
“When I was younger I felt a lot of fear and urgency around my queer identity. There is nothing to be afraid of, and you’re not on a timeline. You also don’t have to be or claim to be one thing, or anything. There are countless ways of being in this world and all of them are okay.”
“If you’re feeling alone, or on the outside, wrong in any way, just feel it and let it pass. Keep discovering and sharing your truths. You are magic. Let the world come to you.”
“Things are not always what they seem, and it’s impossible to see the forest from the trees. You can’t imagine how the hardships and challenges that you go through will help you along your path/growth. Keep your eyes and ears open and be available to the opportunities that life presents you with and be brave, because even if you don’t succeed with the goals you set at the start, the process will make a huge difference in the person you are soon to become.”
“Listen kid, truly nothing matters in life other than leaving a positive impact on this world, whether it be big or small. Start with leaving a positive impact on yourself. Life may be long, but your youth is too short to spend it hating yourself and being self-destructive.
Do your homework, invest your time into your passions (no matter how weird or silly they may seem), spend time with people who make you feel loved and appreciated, keep your heart tender. Also learn some financial literacy and how to cook, that’ll help you in the long run.
There’s a lot of bad stuff out there that tries to bring you down, but don’t forget all the beauty around you, too. There’s a whole wide world out there that’s yours for the taking and that may seem so far away but it’ll be in your hands before you know it.
You’ve got this. I believe in you, and you’ve got a whole community of people that do, too. Above all, don’t forget that you are perfectly designed, “flaws” and all. I love you.”
“I would say, “Sweetheart listen, listen to me.” My teenage self would roll her eyes, but with hopes of a glimpse of the future I imagine she’d listen, a little maybe.
Everything that seems so important now – your loves, your hopes, your anger, your tough vulnerability and the intensity of the fear you carry – is just as important as you think it is and it always will be. But it won’t stay the same. You will always care what people think but you will find people who think bigger. So, don’t diminish yourself, don’t try to make yourself different and smaller.
“You are going to be okay but take better care of your body, it’s got to last. Slow down a little, don’t push quite so hard.” At this point my teenage self would be rapidly losing interest so I would switch focus.
The big question you have – well yes, you will find love. And no, I won’t tell you who. Love will not be the answer to all your problems. Love will be messy and painful and often leave you so open and vulnerable it feels unbearable but you are right, it is important and you will find it and the world, at least your world, will celebrate with you.
You’re going to leave your home and find a path to follow. You don’t need to know what it is right now. There will be family, deep friendships, work you love, thousands of books and some amazing adventures. The world around you will get better and worse. You will still be angry and afraid at times – less afraid of yourself though, less afraid to show yourself.
You’re going to be okay.”
“You don’t have to be exceptional, or talented, or clever to be deserving of love, especially from that who you felt withheld the love you needed in a time you were unstable or in flux. You don’t have to win people’s love.”
“When I was young there was so much biphobia even in the LGBT community. Gay and lesbian friends would made comments that rejected bisexual identities and made me feel unsafe. As a result I came out as bi to very few people in my teens and 20s.
If I could talk to my younger self, I’d let her know that she has a right to come out, embrace a queer identity, and be part of the queer community. That even if labels like “bi” didn’t feel quite right, there were new words coming, like “queer” and “gender non-conforming” that would feel like home.
The only advice I really have to queer youth is, keep going! Keep pushing the boundaries, keep breaking down barriers, keep blowing up all the old categories of what people are allowed to be. You are changing the world!”
“We live in a world that urges us to deviate from our core sense of self, telling us that we are not welcome or wanted here. The bravest thing we can do is continue to give ourselves the chance to love and be loved. To trust love one more time. This can look a whole lot of ways. Do what feels the most right to you in the moment. Only you will know what that is for you.”
“All of you – all versions, iterations, parts of you – are valid. Even and especially the parts that you don’t yet have the language for. The parts you can’t yet share with your friends/family. The parts that the [racist, ableist, cisheteronormative capitalist] world tells us are unworthy. You are worthy. You are worthy of love, respect, and care. You are worthy, just by existing.”