This article was written by our Everly Mag Intern, Chloe. Get to know Chloe and our other interns here!
June is here, which comes along with it LGBT Pride month! Pride month is in honor of the Stonewall Riots (thank your local trans woman of color!) and the month in which same-sex marriage was legalized in the US. However, while we celebrate Pride month this June, it’s important to remember that not all of us are lucky enough to have a supportive loving community around us that allows us to celebrate the truth and beauty of who we are.
When I came out way back in 2012 I was incredibly lucky. Most of my friends were also queer. One of my best friends was bisexual and the other one was non-binary. They went through discovering parts of themselves at the same time as I did. My family was begrudgingly accepting and didn’t bring up my pansexuality in a good way or a bad way (they’ve since grown to be a lot more accepting!) There were plenty of kids at my school who were out of the closet. When I came out, my support network came easy. I was already surrounded by ‘my people’. For many other people who will come out this year, this reality will not be universal.
Who are your people?
They are the people that will love you, no matter what. They don’t judge you and instead celebrate they celebrate all your parts. They are your support network, those that will keep you standing in your times of need and help you to succeed in life. There are a few misconceptions about who “your people” are when your queer.
They’re not necessarily your family, but they can be.
The theme of “found family” is strong in media that is popular in the LGBT community. For a very long time, familial acceptance of LGBT people wasn’t always as mainstream as it is today. In fact, it’s still not mainstream in many places and communities. If family isn’t accepting, traditionally LGBT people have come together to make new families of their own, a family of their people. This isn’t always the case though. I hear about people who, when straight people know they’re LGBT, get asked immediately if their family accepts them. There’s an immediate stereotype that family will never be accepting right away. That’s not always true! For some people, family can be very accepting, even more so than expected.
They’re not necessarily also in the LGBT community, but they can be.
While it’s easier to know that someone will support you when you come out if they’re also queer, they don’t necessarily have to be in order to be one of “your people”. Plenty of straight people these days are accepting, non-judgemental, and willing to give love and support. It’s also important to realize that not all LGBT people are “your people”. Despite the LGBT rights movement essentially being spearheaded by trans women of color, there are pockets of the LGBT community rife with racism. Never feel like you need to ignore one part of yourself in order to be accepted by for a different part. The intersectionality of who you are is beautiful and valid.
You don’t need to come out to find your people.
There’s an idea in media that ‘coming out’ is a one time thing. You declare your truth once, and all of a sudden the whole world knows and forms their opinions of you. That’s definitely not true. Coming out is a consistent thing and until people are no longer ‘straight until proven otherwise’ in the eyes of society, it’s something you’ll have to do your whole life. So while you may come out to people that you decide that you are safe enough and comfortable enough around, that doesn’t mean that you have to be out to everyone. Never, ever feel like you have to come out.
Just because you don’t have them right now, doesn’t mean you won’t have them later.
Maybe things are rough for you right now. Maybe in your community, homophobia is a very serious and very dangerous issue. Maybe you’re out, but the people around you are simply begrudgingly accepting the queer part of your existence. Maybe you feel like you’re the only LGBT person in the tristate area. Don’t be afraid. Be brave and know that you’ll find “your people” one day. “Your people” might look different from mine. They might actually be only one person, or you might only know them online. Maybe they’re someone you already know who you haven’t come out to yet. You never know when or where you’ll find “your people”, but know that they’re out there and they can’t wait to meet you.
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Featured Image Credit: Charlotte Butcher via Unsplash