Being young and gay! – the reality of it

I think I have always known I wasn’t 100% straight. I remember watching programmes when I was younger and only really paying attention to the girls and thinking they were pretty or I would ‘fancy’ women on TV more than men. I used to watch Strictly Come Dancing and not  look at the men dancers at all really, I still don’t. When I started to realise this I began questioning why I thought like this; am I gay? This question has always played on my mind, I wasn’t sure if I was a lesbian or bisexual.

Throughout my life I always told people I was straight, I felt a bit ashamed I suppose. But towards the last couple years of secondary school a couple of my friends came out and were accepted by people in our friendship group. I thought that if they were accepted then I would be too; so I built up the courage to tell my closest friends I was bisexual. Like I guessed, they were totally cool with it and it was like nothing happened.
Because of the acceptance of my friendship group I thought about telling my parents. I felt more confident telling my Mum about my sexuality. It wasn’t like a sit-down situation, it was just sort of brought up in conversation and that was it really. It was pretty easy, but I knew my Mum would be okay with whatever sexuality I am. Telling my Dad wasn’t as easy for me. I was so nervous, I could barely get the words out. I held it off for so long because I wasn’t sure what he would say. I knew he wouldn’t disown me or anything like that, but there was still something there that was preventing me from telling him. Although it wasn’t as easy as telling my Mum, it went down okay and I felt a lot better afterwards.

I know that I’m one of the really lucky ones, and not all parents are as accepting as mine. So many kids are rejected and shunned by their parents for their sexuality. 24% of the homeless youth in the UK are LGBT+. The main reasons so many young, gay people are homeless is due to parental rejection, abuse from within the family and also aggression. There are many shelters up and down the UK but they’re not always easily accessible. Many charities have been set up to help fund shelters and get more LGBT+ youth off the streets and in to a safe environment, including: The Albert Kennedy Trust.

Rob Stothard—Getty Images
Through a poll I shared I asked a group of LGBT youth how their parents reacted to them coming out and 73% answered that their parents accepted their sexuality and they also get along with them. This is a good statistic and I’m really pleased that these people had a good coming out experience. 18% answered that their parents accepted their sexuality, but not their gender identity.
Nearly half of young LGBT+ people have considered suicide in their lives. That is a sad and shocking statistic. Mental health is also a big problem particularly for LGBT+ people as 42% have sought medical help to do with anxiety and also depression. There is a higher risk of mental health problems in young LGBT+ people compared to heterosexual people of the same age. Almost half of under 26 year old transgender people have attempted suicide. Why is mental health such a big issue for LGBT+ youth? Is it due to the lack of mental health support in the UK? Personally it took me over five attempts of talking to a doctor about my own mental health to finally be taken seriously and given the health care I really needed. I believe some people think that the struggles we go through are just trivial things that aren’t really a big deal, but this is so far from the truth!

In some places LGBT+ people still aren’t even treated like human beings. Being gay is illegal in 72 countries. That is a huge amount of countries. And in 8 countries gay people can face the death penalty. Can you imagine being sentenced to death just for being in love? It’s madness. Besides facing death, gay people can also end up with a 15 year prison sentence in some countries. In 2011 Radio 1 DJ, Scott Mills – an openly gay man – travelled to the African country, Uganda to document the way gay people are treated. At that time a gay person could face 14 years in prison. Many people tried to put forth the death penalty although this was changed to life in prison in 2014. During Mills’ time in Uganda he met with anti-gay preachers and also gay people who are in hiding. If caught these people could be sent to prison, or even beaten to death in the street. The documentary is truly eye-opening. I found a version of it on Youtube which I’ll link here. Go check it out if you have a chance. I asked a group of young LGBT+ people whether they ever feel the need to hide their sexual identity and every single one of them said yes. 100% said they feel the need to hide who they are. That is so incredibly saddening.

Quotesgram.com

80% of LGBT+ people who have experience a hate crime due to their sexuality didn’t report it to the police. Young people are also the least likely to report a hate crime because they feel that the authorities don’t take their issues seriously. Seems to be a reoccurring situation that LGBT+ people aren’t taken seriously. Youtuber Timmy Timato (23) made a video 3 years ago talking about a homophobic attack him and his boyfriend experienced in a shopping mall in America. In the video Timmy said that him and his partner were on an ascending escalator sharing a kiss, and on the descending escalator was a man who then started to shout homophobic comments at them. ‘I’m glad we were on different escalators and safe because I don’t know what would’ve happened, he seemed so angry.’ Timmy also mentions that the situation was ‘traumatising’ because they ‘didn’t feel safe’. Although Timmy says that he is all for PDA, 36% of LGBT+ people said they don’t feel comfortable walking in public while holding their partners hand. I asked in a poll if people have ever felt discriminated against by a stranger and 79% answered yes. Attacks on LGBT+ people surge almost 80% in the UK over the last four years.

LGBT+ representation is slowing increasing – not as much as I would like, but it is happening – in film and TV. According to GLAAD, of the 125 film released in 2016 only 23 (18.4%) contained characters who identified as LGBT+. That isn’t a great amount really. Although Hollywood is letting us down with representation, there are quite a few shows on Netflix with some pretty awesome LGBT+ characters including: Orange is the New Black, and Sense 8. Gay men are the most represented by a significant margin of 83%. Lesbian characters have increased since 2016 by 35%, and bisexual representation has increased by 13%. Even though LGBT+ representation is increasing, it’s only really increasing for white people. The racial diversity of LGBT+ characters has actually decreased, which is very disappointing. A record breaking number of LGBT+ characters appeared on US TV in 2017. 6.4% of characters on broadcast prime-time TV identified as LBGT+, with 77% of them being white. There is also more discussion about being LGBT+ with celebrities now too as more of them are coming out. Loads of A-List celebrities are openly gay and also fight for gay rights, using their social media platforms to spread information. Open LGBT+ celebrities include: David Bowie, Laverne Cox, Amandla Stenberg, Stephen Fry, Angelina Jolie, Halsey and so many more!

Troye Sivan, an Australian Youtuber and singer, used his platform in 2013 to come out as gay to his followers and fans. He did this because he thought he owed it to his fans, but also because he wanted to inspire his younger fans who are questioning themselves. In his video he talks about how he watched so many ‘coming out videos’ that inspired him and gave him the courage, so he wanted to do the same. ‘But this is not something I’m ashamed of, and it’s not something anyone should have to be ashamed of.’  The video has 7.8 million views and has a collection of really nice comments of support and also people sharing their own experiences.

I’m 20 years old and I only really came to a solid conclusion that I am bisexual about a year ago; I spent 19 years questioning my own identity. I’ve never truly come out to everyone in my family either. Although I’m so certain of myself I still get nervous and worried about how people will react to me. Unfortunately, I don’t think those feelings will ever go away, maybe they’ll slowly minimise, but then again maybe not. From all the people I asked in my poll, 81% of them were under 21, and 67% of them knew they weren’t heterosexual before they turned 13 years old.

LGBT+ rights are something I feel very strongly about, and as someone who is a part of the LGBT+ community it affects me, and quite a few of my friends. If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or whatever you identify as then please know that you aren’t alone and there are always people you can talk to:

Alternatively you can always message me on my Instagram or twitter!

Thank you for reading,
Bx

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Bandia Blog

Hi! I'm Brenna. I'm 20 years old and live in Cornwall, England. I started this blog back in September 2017 and I'd really like to create a blog I can be really proud of. Writing is my passion so any opportunity to do it I'll snatch right up! I hope you enjoy my content. Thank you! :) x

19 thoughts on “Being young and gay! – the reality of it”

  1. It’s best to live a life that makes you happiest and helps you feel free to be yourself. I am glad you are doing just that. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. You’re doing great. Do what makes you happy. Thanks for sharing ♥️ ♥️ By any chance you are interested on doing collaborations, you can check out the collaborations portal of Phlanx.com and connect with amazing brands!

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    Tiffany

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  3. I really enjoyed this post. I love the depth you’ve gone into with statistics and the personal side of it too! It’s been a real eye-opening piece for me as I’ve never realised how hard it can be for a young LGBT+ person and I really appreciate you for sharing cause I think it’s important for everyone to realise the truth behind the topic. Looking forward to reading more posts as I can tell you’re a passionate writer!

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  4. Loved this post B! Also super proud of you for feeling confident to come out to your friends first before your parents. A lot of people go well into their 20’s or even later in life and not ever really feeling sure of who they are and struggle to ever find the courage to confide in anyone about this. I loved the statistics you included to the post, a lot of I knew about ablready but a lot that surprised me as well.

    I’m 28 years old but came out to my friends and family when I was 17. I knew I was gay from a very early age but didn’t feel the need to voice this until I was 17 and was in my first relationship. While I think it’s so important to find self acceptance and understanding, I also don’t agree too much on labels. I think today’s youth are so pressurised about labels and working out what they should and shouldn’t be, that they forget to just be. Who cares what you are, as long as you’re happy! x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I found this post really interesting and sad at the same time. I am not gay myself but I still believe everyone should have the right to be who they are and love whoever they want to love. Love is love at the end of the day. We are all human. I Loved this post! Such an important issue. x

    Linda || Lindaroche.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

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