There is a lot of history to my journey as a member of the LGBT+ community. I hesitated for as long as possible at the thought of writing this, because my mental blocks held me back. They made me second guess what I should write about. After some deep thinking, I decided to write about the impact media had on me when I was growing up.
For the longest time, I never considered the possibility of being queer. Whenever I felt the -now positive- flutter in my chest at the sight of a girl I liked, I had always drilled it into my head that I didn’t like them romantically. In fact, if my memory serves me well, my excuse for that flutter was always an appreciation for them. The girls on T.V. that told me to ‘be myself’ never showed me who I could truly be. I never saw them go through the same struggles I did to accept their feelings. I never knew how to feel. Once I learned what being gay was, My conservative father was telling me that being gay was a sin. This didn't help answer my questions either.
I honestly see it as a miracle that I know my sexual orientation. My mother always combated the hateful thoughts from my father, and let me know that it was ok to be who I wanted to be. Her words felt empty because I felt empty. I had no one to tell me what my feelings meant, and that what I was going through was okay. I never knew who I wanted to be, so how could my mother know that I was ok. My sister was my saving grace. I had no clue who I was, but she helped guide me. When I learned that she had a girlfriend, I was starting to experiment with the thought that I could be bisexual. I didn’t want to let go of the option of dating boys because everyone on T.V. and in my life was heterosexual in one way or another. Heteronormativity skewed my perspective on my sexuality because if I didn't like boys, I wasn't a real person. My sister made me realize that I could like girls just as much, or even more than boys, and I finally realized my orientation once I started reading stories, and seeing fan-art of shows. I liked that they showed lesbian relationships.
That’s where this writing piece is truly going. Media representation. If I hadn't had access to those stories on Tumblr, I might still be struggling with who I am. Not everyone will do what I did, and turn to the places I did. I have a small hope that they don’t. The representation that I got was wrong and made my realization harder than it needed to be. We need more stories written by LGBT+ people for LGBT+ people. We need more ways to share our stories, more outlets to let kids know that who they are is ok. We need to stop the romanticization and stereotypes that hurt kids who are questioning. We need stories that show who we are, and that can tell confused girls that, the flutter in your chest is ok. The crush you feel towards the pretty girl in your class is ok. It doesn't have to be scary, or dark. Our community is beautiful and wonderful. We need to let kids know that they are welcome. We should help them find themselves in the sea of chaos that we call life.
Media representation is few and far in between. As I write this, a new movie has come out: Love, Simon. The drastic increase of people -not just kids- understanding their feelings, coming out, and embracing who they are is astounding. Its all because of one movie that has a positive representation of LGBT+ community. This is a wonderful example of what we can do when our stories are told. I think that is why I love this project. We get to tell our stories and help each other.
Let our stories be heard. Don’t silence us. Because we will always yell louder if need be.