Recently, I attended a conference for the LGBT community. It was an enlightening experience and I encountered LGBT people of all ages and from all circumstances, including differences in race, home life, religious beliefs, and more.
I was most impressed, though, by the LGBT youth I met there. This is you!
You are so strong and so bold to be living your life as authentically as possible. I suppressed my feelings about being a lesbian for many years and came out as an adult. You, however, have chosen to branch out, find yourselves and express your true self. It was simply inspiring to see such a strong group of young people.
I also met family members who fully supported their LGBT children of all ages in their life's journeys. I hope this is the case for you, too: that your loved ones treat you with respect and love you just as you are.
Let me share a few things I, a lesbian adult, learned from you, an LGBT teen, at my recent conference visit.
1. It’s okay to believe in who you are.
You’ve inspired me to be me and believe in that. I am a strong individual who can be like you and love myself.
2. I don’t have to be closeted and alone.
I watched so many LGBT youth at the conference interacting and forming new friendships. Not that you were in cliques, but you were loving and accepting of each other. I saw you being “out,” coming together, and making connection so you don’t have to be alone on your journey.
3. Strength comes from within -- and it's infectious.
So many of you exuded strength beyond anything I have possessed. You encouraged and showed others how to be strong and how to share that strength so others can feel and grow from it.
4. I can live happily in the LGBT community no matter how old I am.
I was so impressed how comfortable you were in your own skin. I loved watching your happiness and how it spread. It showed me that in my journey as an adult, I can be happy just the way I am ,and that many of you already are living happily just as yourselves.
In the end, I found that you, as youth, are a driving force in forging the LGBT community's way forward. You are strong, new pioneers opening up the way for many others to express their sexualities and gender identities.
You are the new generation who will lead and create a brighter future for us all.