» Growing up LGBT.

Growing up LGBT.

Growing up a LGBT child can be a very frightening and isolating experience. The majority of our learning takes place at a very young age, how to walk, talk, what’s dangerous and our environment etc. At this time we also get taught stories and beliefs of the world around us. A lot of us (me included) get taught that when we grow older, we will date people from the opposite sex and then marry and have children! We grow up believing the sequence of events, and that is the only correct way of doing it. However, growing up lesbian, gay or bi this isn’t going to happen….not with the opposite sex anyway! We see it all around us, from an early age on TV, film, books, magazines, parents, friends and family. At ages from 16 upwards you will meet someone from the opposite sex and marry them! Its a self-fulfilling prophecy – everywhere we look it happens again and again. So we believe it to be true, and becomes a cast iron rule! This can cause a huge conflict in the mind as you get feelings for people of the same sex, and that is hugely detriment to your mental health.

If I’m honest with myself now, I knew when I was 8 year old that is was gay – or I knew I was attracted to guys. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I understood what all that meant. It put me into turmoil, what i was feeling was going against what society, friends and parents had taught me was the only way to be. So, you think it will blow over, I’ll stop feeling like this and I’l wake up and want to date women and be normal. I grew older, and it didn’t happen. All my friends had girl/boy friends (of the opposite sex of course), but I was single and not even trying to get a date with a girl. You start imagining the conversations your parents and friends are having and your parents start to give you bits of advice on how to get a girlfriends. Your brother offers to give you some pointers when you next go out. The thing is, you believe its wrong to feel the way you feel. Government, society, friends and family all tell you so. Therefore you feel there is something wrong with you, and you shut that side of yourself away from everyone. On TV you see stories about the AIDS epidemic, you see soap operas or newspaper article about hate crimes on some gay lad. You hear stories of gay kids coming out to their friends, family and parents – and then they get disowned and thrown out of their home. Who wants that outcome??? I’m damn sure I didn’t, so I would carry on being single, frightened and feeling very isolated.

When i found out that was this huge society of LGBT people out there, my outlook started to look up. I never new about Canal Street in Manchester until I was in my late teens/twenties. This made me realise that I wasn’t the only gay person in the North of England, and there were lots of people just like me…….Gay! My parents didn’t tell me there could be gay people, they don’t understand the concept at all. I grew up in an era when schools couldn’t talk about homosexuality (and my mum was a teacher), and canal street was very underground and secret. When I started to educate myself and find out about Canal Street the whole world opened up to me. Eventually I found great friends, and you learn that you can be happy and have a family of your own. The world is a different place to when I grew up as a teenager, but people still feel isolated, alone and scared growing up because they are LGBT today. Children and teenagers just need to be aware that there are people who are gay, lesbian or bi. They need to know it is OK to be like that, and that its normal. The more people who talk about it, and acknowledge it the better. People then grown knowing there is another version of normal, and it’s ok for them, or anyone else to be that way.

Thank you.

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