Things I would’ve wanted to know growing up as Queer

FROM: The Gender Spectrum Collection:Stock Photos Beyond the Binary

By Maria Jose De La Cruz

I don’t know about yall but as someone who grew up in New Braunfels, Texas growing up I never knew people who were queer until my senior year of high school. Moving to Austin helped me feel more comfortable exploring my queerness but not everyone lives in a city where there’s a lot of queer people. And while there’s more white queer people than queer people of color in Austin there’s more QPOC here than in New Braunfels and other small texas towns. Here are some small tips that would’ve helped young me navigate being queer.  

You don’t have to label who you are 

In the middle of having many options to call ourselves we sometimes feel like we have to pick a label, but there’s no rush to figure out who you are. It’s okay if you’re not 100% sure that you are queer. For some it’s more natural to understand their queerness but for others it takes time and that’s ok. Everyone’s on their own journey, for me I am still figuring out who I am but for now I know that the label queer works for me

It’s ok to be multiple things and change 

Going with the previous tip, it’s okay to be multiple things and with time we can change. At first I related to calling myself solely pansexual but then when I discovered the word queer I felt more comfortable in that it expresses who I am more accurately. You don’t have to stick with one identity, if you feel like there’s something that you relate to more don’t feel stuck! We are all complex people and so are these labels so try to be patient with yourself. 

You’re not alone

As corny as it sounds I wish someone would’ve told me this growing up. I was always scared that my family and friends would not accept me being queer. The fear of not having anyone or any support would sometimes keep me up at night. But what we have to remind ourselves is that we are not alone. There’s a great queer people of color community that is full love and support. allgo has great events where one can find a queer people of color community in Austin.

There’s not one way to be Queer 

When I wanted to come out as queer  I felt like I wasn’t ready, because I had not checked things off this imaginary queer list that proves you are who you say you are. One of the things I thought I had to do was have queer sexual experiences. This was not healthy for me and this standard that society upholds held me back from expressing who I was. Not to mention it pressured me into feeling like I had to have sex with people to validate my queerness. You do not need external validation for what you feel and know internally! My advice is that you are your own person and there’s not one way to be queer. Let go of those expectations you feel from society because of your queerness.

Until this day I struggle to unlearn the things I developed because I didn’t know all these things above. I hope this helps some people as we all are always growing and figuring ourselves out.

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