Queer folk share touching, funny and painfully relatable stories about the first time they realised they were LGBT+
Countless LGBT+ people took to Twitter Tuesday (September 8) to give endearing accounts of how they realised they were queer, after a lawyer with links to the LGB Alliance claimed young people shouldn’t be “labelled”.
“I first knew I was LGBTQ” was the UK’s number one trending topic after Allison Bailey, a lawyer who describes herself as a “gender critical” lesbian, said a 12-year-old cannot know they are queer.
Bailey is best-known for announcing the launch of the LGB Alliance, an association which has sought to strike a wedge between the LGB and T communities.
She spoke out after queer Black youth advocacy group Exist Loudly asked for followers aged between 12 and 23 to answer a questionnaire.
“A 12-year-old is a child,” she wrote. “Stop putting children in with adults and labelling them LGBTQ+.”
As the backlash against Bailey’s tweet grew, Stonewall urged people to share their stories in an effort to show that being queer is not reserved for adults.
It sounds like some people still think you can only know you’re LGBTQ+ once you become an adult. Whoever knew they were LGBTQ+ at 12, put your hand up! 🖐️
When did you realise? Share your story on the hashtag #ifirstknewIwasLGBTQ – we will retweet our favourites ❤
— stonewalluk (@stonewalluk) September 8, 2020
From Section 28 to crushes on Batman, queer people reveal when they knew they were LGBT+.
LGBT+ people rushed forward to share their stories, with many talking about childhood crushes, stolen glances and first kisses — as well as the shame that society puts on young queer people.
#ifirstknewIwasLGBTQ when I was 11. I just didn't feel what my friends did for boys. But there was this girl at school, she had the most charming smile. My heart melted. I realised that's how I was 'supposed' to feel for boys. And now I'm super bi 😊 https://t.co/HEAtzHvPAr
— Hafsa Qureshi (@MsHafsaQureshi) September 8, 2020
#ifirstknewIwasLGBTQ when I started to become curious about the boys in my year at around 10/11, whilst also having crushes on the girls. I started looking at guys and feeling something…but buried it because I still liked girls. Not knowing bisexuality held me back so much https://t.co/dyU8VSMcQz
— Vaneet Mehta #20ThemTy 🌺 (@nintendomad888) September 8, 2020
I knew I liked girls when I was 10 but don't know the right words for it, I tried to tell my friends I was demisexual at 16 but was told it "wasn't real".
I finally learnt the terms and could accept being the bi aroace I am when I was 21. https://t.co/uUL6Ffnyuj
— Alice Morose (They/Them) (@AliceintheVoid) September 8, 2020
This is most excellent stuff .@stonewalluk #ifirstknewIwasLGBTQ when I was ten, my Dad had recently died and we moved and I changed schools to my 5/8. I had to pick who to sit next to in primary school and I didn’t know why but I *had* to sit next to another boy… That was it https://t.co/zXUMw1KvPK
— Nick Coveney (@nmjcoveney) September 8, 2020
it's been a journey over the last eight years, but I'm so much more comfortable with my identity now that I have the words to describe how I feel ^^
— NightingaleTrash (@NightingTrash) September 8, 2020
Many trans people waded into the conversation to point out that children often understand their gender identity far more than most adults give them credit for.
#ifirstknewIwasLGBTQ at 8-10 years old. At first i claimed i didn't know if i was a 'boy or a girl'. At 9 years old i came out as agender, still questioning. 10 years old i came out as trans in the most embarrassing way. I sent my parents a picture of a trans jumper/hoodie https://t.co/L9JkjwOM5K pic.twitter.com/GTyuAvkiEh
— ⧖ lizardking_jesse ⧗ ☂️ 🌙💫🪐✨🌟 (@jesse_stans_sio) September 8, 2020
I was 8. I read a kid’s book about a boy who kissed the outside of his elbow and turned into a girl. I spent months trying to kiss it too, I needed to be a girl. If I’d been able to transition back then, I could’ve lived my whole life as the person I am. https://t.co/bpHOrZeZIC
— Not Even a Chef (@EloraEdwards) September 8, 2020
#ifirstknewIwasLGBTQ at the age of 13. Everything up to that point finally made sense to me, but because I was never taught that being trans was okay it led to a downward spiral of repression and misery. Three years later, transition saved my life.
— Emma, 'null error' girl (@Emma_RC94) September 8, 2020
Many people, of course, came to realise they were LGBT+ by their first TV crushes.
— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) September 8, 2020
I was about 10 when #ifirstknewIwasLGBTQ I had crushes on various female singers & I had the biggest crush on cat woman from Batman. But these things were never talked about in our house, Section 28 happened & we still don’t talk about it!! Thank goodness for chosen family!! https://t.co/Y2a97RxP8f
— Josie-Jo 🏳️🌈 (@ScarletClare) September 8, 2020
Meanwhile, others spoke of that general feeling of not fitting in that so many LGBT+ children experience.
Love this! #ifirstknewIwasLGBTQ when I was 5 and all my friends were girls. Took me a while to figure out why I didn't fit in with the other boys, but I got there eventually. Can only dream of what my life would've been like if I'd had access to an LGBTQ+ safe space at that age! https://t.co/WDFVbiMCWu
— Alexander Leon (@alexand_erleon) September 8, 2020
My friend and I were caught together as teens. Her mom, disgusted, shamed us hard & told us we'd go to Hell for our immoral urges. I hid for many more decades.
— Amanda Jetté Knox (@MavenOfMayhem) September 8, 2020
Exist Loudly, the group which sparked the discourse, sent an apt tweet restating its mission to protect all queer and trans Black youth, regardless of any attempts to erase their reality.
Lastly, to any TERF, transphobe or homophobe who may have found our page. I hope you have some time to find a straw today to suck your mums. pic.twitter.com/mbNu1LN9tk
— ExistLoudly (@ExistLoudlyUK) September 8, 2020