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LGBTQ Voices

How My Gender Representation gives me confidence



Author, smiling into the camera, wearing a red cap, a flower in their ear, a bright Hawaiian shirt, and a lei around their neck.
Takoma Park, MD

I first came out when I was around 13-years-old, so I don’t think I was an old enough person yet for people to treat me very differently based on my sexual identity. At that age, I think everyone had so much going on, so many physical, mental, and behavioral changes, that being gay was just another thing.

I think the day after I came out on Facebook (eleventh grade), I was treated with a little more kindness than what typically occurred on an average day at school.

I’ve been lucky enough so far to be around people that are not horrible. And to whom my gender presentation and sexuality aren’t huge factors.

There is absolutely not enough LGBTQ+ representation in the media. I know it has improved since I was little.

The stars of movies such as, “Bend it like Beckham” and Jo from “Little Women” were some of my first gay icons. None of them are even canonically gay.

I don’t think I came upon a gay person in any form of media until I actively sought it out. This was around the age of 14. I started looking on Amazon to see what books other people who purchased “Annie On My Mind” had also purchased.

I don’t remember where I found “Annie On My Mind.” This book from the 1980s centers on the romantic relationship of two 17-year-old girls, Annie and Liza. It normalized my attraction to women.

I do see a rise in LGBTQ+ characters in TV, movies, and books, especially Young-Adult novels, but, not so much in the adult world.

I guess there are still too many older homophobes who are catered to. And while I love that the generation after me is offered a wider selection of gay media than I was, I wish that I had more to grasp onto in my 20s.