August 2014. I’ll always remember it. That was when things changed – I’d come out.
I think that, to an extent, every fifteen-year-old is confused in some way. The world is a weird place, and part of growing up is trying to work out what on earth is going on (pun intended).
But it doesn’t help when you throw the whole gay thing into the mix. That’s why I think it’s so important to have LGBTQ+ people represented in the media.
One of the things that really confused me was that I didn’t really see anyone that reminded me of myself. There wasn’t anyone in film or in television to whom I could really relate to.
And that made things quite tough – when you’re fifteen everything seems absolutely world-ending and this was no exception. I was convinced before I came out that everyone would hate me.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are probably plenty of reasons to hate me. But I now know that my sexuality isn’t one of them. That being said, I think part of the reason why I was convinced everyone would hate me was because coming out was usually followed by a negative response in film and television.
Fair enough, that probably makes for better viewing, but it doesn’t help young people like me.
The debate around homosexuality was also difficult; we were generally accepted back then but there were always those who had to chime in with some “being gay is unnatural” nonsense.
The problem is, I know all of that is nonsense now – but fifteen-year-old me didn’t.
It also didn’t help that, all too often, gay people weren’t included in debates surrounding their own rights.
Why do I say this now, nearly a decade later? Because we’re doing it again. The trans debate that’s going on right now, all too often, gives a voice to those whose views are outdated and, ultimately, harmful to young people struggling with gender dysphoria.
You probably know roughly who I’m talking about – the terminally online type who have convinced themselves that they can blame all of the world’s woes on trans folk.
And, if there’s not a trans person there to refute those views, that can make life really difficult for young trans people.
For their sake, we have to ensure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. For all LGBTQ+ people, we have to be better.
Featured Image Credit: them.us