June marks Pride Month, an extremely important event raising awareness of the LGBTQ+ community. Fortunately, in many countries the LGBTQ community is accepted but a total of 72 nations still have laws against it. However, the acceptance of LGBTQ has still not ended all discrimination around this topic and even in the UK there are large amounts of homophobic attacks on a weekly basis.
Despite the acceptance of homosexuality many of the LGBTQ community still have fears of their identity being accepted and may face hardships with managing confidence while identifying as LGBTQ. It is estimated that LGBTQ young people are three times as likely as their peers to drop out of high school often because they feel unsafe or unaccepted. So here are some tips to build your confidence and not feel like you’re avoided.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support:
This may seem extremely difficult at first but talking to someone and seeking help is extremely important. You may be thinking “how will talking to someone help but the human voice is honestly the most powerful instrument of all. It may seem intimidating talking to someone you know ie your parents, teachers etc; try attending some LGBTQ youth groups for example Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre based in Kings Cross.
- Building each other up:
Working as a community strengthens us as individuals; why not try getting to know others who may be going through the same as you. Again why not try attending a LGBTQ youth group (look back at last point for an example).
- Make sure to find inspiration in the people around you:
You may know friends who identify as LGBTQ and are finding it hard to ‘fit in’, try talking to them and helping them and telling them that they are equal to everyone else and that they are without doubt accepted, sometimes they may want to talk to you but are finding it hard. Even if you don’t identify as LGBTQ many of these youth groups are inclusive so perhaps try attending with a friend to help them and make them a bit more restful as it may feel a bit scary at first.
- Your accomplishments renew your own strength and give strength to others:
If you do attend any groups or have talked to someone make sure to share your story with others. Often something that may seem simple to you will inspire others hugely; you may not know your accomplishments could help them too. Always share your stories and remember you are a team with the rest of the community working together will have a much larger impact.
- Make a promise with your friends to keep each other safe from the ravages of fear and doubt:
As I mentioned earlier in the article, talking to someone about your feelings is extremely important. Having a reliable friend you can talk to is important it is most likely they’ll be able to reassure you that everything will be fine, try sharing with them what is it you are finding hard and if there's anything you have tried perhaps they may be able to accompany you on your journey.
Although these tips may help to truly build confidence in LGBTQ young people, they need more than just being told to look to others for inspiration. They need to know their peers are looking to them as a source of strength, and looking to them to be role models for how to fight against hate and self-doubt. It is crucial LGBTQ young people come to recognize that they have the power to not only change their own lives, but empower others to do the same.
Don’t ever tell yourself that you’re not good enough. Always remind each other that everyone is amazing. Remember to be yourself as you are amazing just the way you are and be proud of what you have it will empower you to be the best.
Note: Please remember that you don’t have to identify as LGBTQ to get involved; I have tried to make these tips inclusive so make sure to try out these tips even if you don’t feel part of the community. Very soon the Head Girl Team will be starting an LGBTQ club and we would love it everyone could come. We really want it to be a place where everyone including people who don’t identify as LGBTQ can come to share their opinions and stories to inspire everyone else.
If you would like to talk further about any of the topics discussed or any other issues or have any ideas for further articles please don’t hesitate to email me at: email@example.com.
Mahfuza 10C (Head Girl Team)