Do you remember the first time you knew for sure that you were queer? Did it feel like you could live in this truth that you had just learned about yourself? In an ideal world, being queer would mean that nobody has to “come out” or be honest about their identity because it wouldn’t be a big deal. But in the world we live in, when most people realize that they are queer, they spend a lot of, if not, all of their years hiding parts of themselves.
“Queer people don't grow up as ourselves, we grow up playing a version of ourselves that sacrifices authenticity to minimize humiliation & prejudice. The massive task of our adult lives is to unpick which parts of ourselves are truly us & which parts we've created to protect us.”
- Alexander Leon
Choosing to live in your truth as an LGBTQ+ person is an act of bravery and if you’re trying to do so, I commend you. A lot of queer people hide in unhappy marriages or unions, bury themselves in work, or mask with religion to cover up their queerness. They’re afraid that if they came out, the society around them would disown, shame, or ostracize them which has been true for many other queer people.
You deserve to live your most authentic life. Honoring your heart’s true desires of loving who you want, identifying as who you feel you are, dressing in clothes you are comfortable in, and seeking queer joy. You deserve to wake up every day and love the life you have because it’s an honest one. But that’s easier said than done with the stigma and stereotypes surrounding queerness.
Living in your most authentic form when queer can be a challenge—but it doesn't have to be.
Here are some tips for living your truth as an LGBTQ+ person:
1. First, ask yourself what "living in your truth" means to you. What does it mean to be yourself? To be authentic? What does being LGBTQ+ mean to YOU? How do you want others to see YOU? Do you want to be able to express yourself openly? Do you want to be able to get married or have kids? Do you want to be able to hold hands with someone in public without fear of being judged? What are your hopes and dreams for yourself? Be honest with yourself about why this matters so much—it can help guide your decision-making process from here forward.
2. Think about how far away from living in your truth you feel right now. If this feels like something that will take years of work before it becomes a reality, try breaking down the steps into smaller pieces—one at a time! It'll help keep things feeling manageable and achievable over time. This could mean seeking therapy to help you explore who you truly are. Therapy could be the path that leads you to your truth because the process is meant to help you uncover yourself.
3. Make peace with the fact that not everyone will accept who you are. Walking in your truth is bound to make some people uncomfortable. Always remember that people are hostile or indifferent to what their minds can’t fully understand or what threatens their underlying beliefs. So it’s not you that’s the problem, it’s their internal systems. Living authentically is about honoring yourself and your needs - it’s not about pleasing others or shrinking yourself to make anyone comfortable.
4. Continually find safe spaces to be yourself in. Safety allows you to be vulnerable enough to explore your identity. Find a community of like-minded people who support you on this journey of your becoming. If you can’t find one, be one for yourself. Be the safe space you can run to when the world is against you. You do this by learning to love yourself just as you are and affirming your inner child that he/she/they are safe with you. But if you can, please find a support group (maybe in person or online) where you can talk about how you're feeling and share your experiences with other LGBTQ+ people.
5. Embrace your uniqueness. Find out what makes you, YOU. Work on improving those qualities about yourself that you love and other people praise. Your queerness is also a beautiful thing that needs you to appreciate it more. Do you know how big of a gift it is to live in your truth? Not many people do that! Always find the light within yourself even when nobody else does.
“The more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I thrive.”
- Elliot Page