Dear Younger Queer Self,
Queer looks different for everyone. Just because you don’t look a certain way, or act a certain way, doesn’t mean you’re any less queer than you feel. It’s difficult not to compare yourself to others, especially at such a raw young age, but I urge you to try your best to not compare your queerness to somebody else’s, because it looks wildly different for everyone.
You are valid in your feelings and your sexuality, regardless of whether or not others perceive you as “queer.” Your sexuality can and will shift and morph over time. You’re allowed to change how you label your queerness, because it’s YOUR queerness, nobody else’s. The imposter syndrome you feel is a symptom of being raised in a society that has told you being queer has certain requirements. Remember that there is no proper way to be queer, just let your love shine through and be fantastically you.
Actively seek out relationships (platonic and romantic) that will make you feel confident in your sexuality. When you have a solid set of folks around you who hype you up, it makes it a little easier to learn to hype yourself up, and to unlearn those unhealthy habits that this heteronormative world has instilled in you.
Being queer is SEXY! Allow yourself to explore sex and intimacy within your queerness, shame is a vicious cycle that will only hold you back. But be gentle with yourself, we can’t force shame out of ourselves, it takes tender love, care, and attention. Yes, attention. Ignoring the shame doesn’t rid you of it, shame is ruthless and will come back to bite you in the tush 10 fold.
As much as you think you can do it all on your own, it’s okay to ask for help. I encourage you to look to others–trusted loved ones, older and wiser queers, therapists or counselors–to aid you in the process of welcoming and honoring your feelings.
Lastly, LEARN YOUR HISTORY. Take pride in LGBTQIA+ history! Love it, hate it, grapple with it, feel it, talk about it, SCREAM about it, taste it, cry with it, mourn with it, fight with it, and find peace in it.
Always remember where your history started–with black trans sex workers. Constantly remind yourself that you are indebted to those who rioted, protested, and put their lives at stake for your rights–and do the exact same for them. You are a part of a colorful and bursting community, BE THERE for your LGBTQIA+ family. When you show up for them, you show up for yourself.
I love you, baby queer. I am so excited for you to see what this community and this life has in store for you.
A thousand hugs and smooches,
Your older, and still learning, queer self