On growing up gay

Keep your head up—growing up gay is something to be proud of!

Keep your head up—growing up gay is something to be proud of!

You know what I’m oddly kind of proud of?

Growing up gay, I always knew I was different. We all do, I think. Not in the “I have a secret talent” or “I can twist my elbow” kind of way. It isn’t something necessarily spectacular or awe inspiring. You’re just… different.

Then, you reach that age where boys notice girls and girls notice boys, but then there’s you. You’re a boy or a girl who notices the same gender. Why? You aren’t sure. What’s this called? You don’t know.

What is gay? Why are they asking me? Is that what I am? Is that the word for it? Why am I being made fun of for this? Is this not normal?

Of course it’s normal. It’s absolutely normal. You don’t think so, though. They don’t, either. Is it something wrong with me? Am I defective?

Of course not, sweetheart. You’re perfect. It’s fine you don’t understand it. You will eventually. Someday, you will grow up and move on with your life, and one day you’ll find yourself in a public space or at a venue for homosexual men and women, and you’ll smile.

Why are you smiling?

You’re smiling because you realize in that moment that you are, for the first time, meeting people who actually understand your struggle for acceptance and understanding.

The experience of growing up gay is unique to us. It isn’t like growing up rich or poor. You can go from one to the other. Growing up gay, though? That’s an experience and a part of you that won’t change.

You should be proud of that.

The short URL of the present article is: http://lgbteen.org/pT4nU

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