I’m Good Because of Self Acceptance & Self Advocacy

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Posted Anonymously

Identity and inclusion are the two most difficult things for members of the LGBT+ community. In recent years, we have seen a growing social movement for LGBT+ social equality. Within this movement, numerous members of the LGBT+ community have confronted the invisible dictators within their notebooks by openly speaking out about their personal struggles. These acts of advocacy have not only increased awareness towards the community, but also tolerance and understanding. Members of the LGBT+ community openly advocating by confronting the dictators within their notebooks has made me feel included as a bisexual male, which ultimately has helped me accept my own true identity while also helping me “stay good”.
          Before coming out as bisexual, I had a difficult time coming to terms with my true inner identity. As a child in elementary school, I would find myself having crushes not only on girls but also on boys at school. A part of me felt as if it was not normal, but I did not truly understand what it meant in terms of being queer until middle school. In sixth grade, my innocence was slowly shaved away as inappropriate jokes were an obvious staple of my middle school’s culture. Within these jokes were a mix of homophobically themed ones, which made me feel a larger sense of taboo and stigma towards being queer. By this time in my life, I had gained a better grasp of what my sexual orientation was and what it meant, and I felt as if it meant that I was lesser and invaluable.
          Therefore, I would spend all three of my middle school years trying my best to hide this side of me. Besides my interest in boys, I would also try to suppress my naturally bubbly and slightly flamboyant personality. At times, I even found myself in strong denial of my reality, and would try to trick myself into believing that I was merely straight. All of the self-questioning and confusion that I experiences led those three years of my life to be some of the darkest that I have ever lived.
           Despite all of the inner conflict of my middle school years, I had personal idols that helped me stay somewhat hopeful in my future as a queer male. In sixth grade, I had stumbled upon a Youtube video blogger by the name of Joey Graceffa. His daily videos would include clips of his day to day life with occasional serious ponderings on his life. I quickly became fascinated by him as he was naturally exuberant and flamboyant; however, despite all of the negative comments made to him because of his personality, he was still extremely comfortable and proud of himself as a whole. In middle school, what I saw in Graceffa was what I strived to see in myself. Another idol of mine was Ellen Degeneres. I loved and still love her continual mantra of love and acceptance, especially in terms of being queer. Her coming out story was especially empowering for me as she was a Hollywood personality with so much to lose; however, she persevered and decided to come out anyways despite the potential risks. I hoped to one day achieve the self-positivity that she held on a daily basis.
              Once I entered high school, I began to become more exposed to members of the LGBT+ community within my own life. Since Lowell is such a large and diverse school, it was not a surprise to me at all that I would meet and get to know other queer people. Just as some of my queer idols have inspired me by their self-acceptance and self-worth, it was just as inspiring to see teenagers around me be just as positive towards themselves and their own lives. In addition, it was amazing to know that being a queer teenager may truly not be as bad as I had envisioned. This helped me break down some of the internal barriers that I built for myself. Within my first semester at Lowell, I found myself acting more in line with my true personality and identity, and it was extremely liberating. I found myself more and more comfortable with myself as my friends accepted me just the same, which had me consider the possibility coming out. As second semester of freshman year came, I came to a realization that coming out to my friends would be a good step to finally realizing my true self, and I eventually did. The first few friends that found out accepted me unconditionally and helped me fully accept that my reality truly is not a bad one.
                 When people advocate through confronting the dictators within their notebooks, it may cause others with mutual experiences to feel connected and included. This not only pertains to the LGBT+ struggle, but can also pertain to today’s other social justice issues, and it rightfully should. If we increase advocacy for all social justice issues, we can become more aware of them and extend our empathy to those affected, which will ultimately lead to growing feelings of connection and inclusion.

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