Growing up, I had always felt different. I never felt I fit the mold of expectations put on me. In school, in social circles, but especially in the idea of sexuality. I always knew I wasn’t straight. I always knew that girls and boys peaked my romantic interest. And I always knew if I ever dared to express those feelings, I would be judged. I felt trapped for years. I had no one to turn to. Is this normal? Is this really a phase? Will I ever be able to share something so personal to the people I love?
After years of masking myself to the world and through moments of self discovery, I was finally admit to myself and others that I was queer. My experience was especially positive, with my family and friends being incredibly open to the idea and extending their love and support. Through that support, I felt freed. I finally felt comfortable to be open about my sexuality and it opened doors for me to discover even more about myself. However, what happens to those who are shunned? Those who remain closeted and alone? To those who don’t have support? In this podcast, we will see what happens when queer youth and adults don’t receive support and the lasting effects on mental health.
My first interviews were with Nathan (they/he) and Angel (they/them), two close friends of mine who have had experience with coming out and everything that goes with it. Nathan shared both the positives and negatives of coming out and how his experience helped and harmed his mental health. Angel answered similar questions. They shared their multiple experiences coming out and how their art and queerness is intertwined. When asking both of them what their advice to queer people thinking of coming out was, they both shared similar sentiments of how community is everything and how self acceptance is the most important thing one can have.
My final interview was with an expert, Dee Balliet (any pronouns) who works as Associate Director of Youth Action at True Colors United, an organization that aims to end homelessness and poverty among LGBTQ+ youth and young adults. They offered some statistics on homelessness and poverty rates among LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as some insight as to what they do to help the queer community. Click here to access True Colors United’s website for additional information and resources.
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