What do you wish you could have told your teen LGBT+ self? We asked lesbian, bisexual, asexual, gay and trans people to share the things they wish they could tell their younger selves.
Steffan Zachiyah came out as trans in 2014, five years after first “coincidentally meeting someone who was on this journey himself.”
He explained: “There was an internal war zone that I was facing every waking day as I feared the judgement of my friends and family as well as being alienated from society, so I continued deceiving myself by covering up my true identity with my sexuality.
“Today, I am completely comfortable with who I am because the moment I made the decision to stop living a lie was the moment the wool had been removed from my eyes.
“What would I say to my teen self coming out as a trans man? I would say don’t worry about what other people have to say.
“The strive to exist as a cisgender, heterosexual male is not the be all and end all.
“The challenges will be you being able to accept yourself as a black man in a heteronormative world—but these challenges are going to help you grow in becoming the best version of yourself.”
Asexual activist and model Yasmin Benoit said she would tell her younger, asexual self: “You’re asexuality is not going to be cured—it will stick around and that will be a good thing.
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“And you will have to come out a hundred times because asexuality isn’t obvious, so don’t take it too seriously.
“Most people probably won’t get it but, when they do, it really will make a difference.
Abi McIntosh—who previously spoke to PinkNews about her coming out story—identifies as lesbian and came out in her late teens.
She would tell her teenage, closeted self: “Everything you hate about yourself now, you’re going to absolutely love about yourself when you’re older.
“You don’t have to choose between being black and being gay—you can be black and gay.”
YouTubers Rose and Rosie, a couple who have recently published a book, titled Overshare, about being gay and bi online, also wish they could tell their younger selves that it gets better.
Rose said: “I would tell my lesbian self that you shouldn’t panic because you will find your chosen family.”
Rosie added: “I would tell my bisexual teenage self—well, there wasn’t much to tell her because she was really confident but—I would tell her not to freak out when I have my first lesbian relationship because you’re going to end up getting married! And it’s going to work out really well.”
Robert Greene, who came out as gay when he was 21, said he would tell his younger self: “People will accept you. Your friends won’t think you’re a liar, they’ll understand why you haven’t been telling them who you truly are.”