If you identify as LGBTQ, there are a few amazing “firsts” you go through. Here’s a list of these oftentimes amazing experiences. If you haven’t had them, I definitely see them in your future.
1. The first person you come out to.
This may be a family member, a friend, or maybe a stranger. It may be someone who you’ve known forever, or someone you just met yesterday. You may bring it up or it may come up randomly. Just remember that coming out is an individual decision and you should not feel pressured by others if you are not ready. Coming out is a lifelong process and oftentimes an everyday decision. But hopefully the first person will be a good experience for you and either way, everything will be okay.
2. The first LGBTQ friend you relate with.
The LGBTQ Community can seem very small at times, and it is easy to feel alone, so it’s really great when you find someone you can relate to. This may be because you identify the same way or maybe you just understand each other well. While it’s wonderful to find a community of LGBTQ folks, even one person can really make a difference and make you a lot happier.
3. The first time you find an LGBTQ Center
People who identify as LGBTQ often stick together, and joining this Community can really change your life, and make you a lot happier, especially if you identify as LGBTQ. This group can often be found on a college campus in a form of a GSA or LGBTQ Resource Center. If your school does not have something like this, you can always search online for one that may be in a neighboring school or town that you can join.
4. The first time you visit an LGBTQ venue.
Just like clubs and centers, believe it or not, LGBTQ folks like to gather in public places as well. They are great places to meet other members and mingle. While some people may say, “Go to Starbucks,” do some research for gay bars or restaurants in a nearby, or your own city. It may even just be a coffee shop (like Starbucks) near a local LGBTQ Center, but they are definitely around. There are plenty of online sites that probably discuss the best venues in your city.
5. Your first LGBTQ kiss and/or relationship.
Just like any relationship, your first LGBTQ kiss and/or relationship will be a great experience. It will probably really confirm your attractions and feelings towards a certain gender, which can be very liberating. Don’t be afraid to explore attractions and certainly don’t be afraid to go after what you want.
6. Your first Pride event
While Pride events are for everyone, they are very popular among the LGBTQ Community. These events really display all the support and happiness of the community, when on some days, members may feel alone and scared to be who they are. Be sure to attend them if you can. They’re a very happy time for everyone and also a great place to make friends.
7. The first family member you come out to.
Fingers crossed that your family is accepting of your sexual orientation and gender identity. I really hope everything runs smoothly. You may choose to tell your sibling before your parents, or an aunt or uncle before your sibling, but the choice is all up to you. Do what you feel is right and try to remember that even if they are not okay at first, they will most likely come around. Above all though, no one but you dictates your identity so be true to who you are.
8. Your first LGBTQ piece of swag.
A great way to show your support for the LGBTQ Community is to wear it right on you. This may be rainbow bracelets, a supporting graphic top, pins on your bag, or even a phone case-the possibilities are endless! Remember that just because a person wears these things does not automatically make them part of the Community.
9. The first LGBTQ novel or movie that you relate to.
While it is not always considered a book genre, there are many LGBTQ novels out there, as well as films. These can be a great escape from the world. However, be sure to find one that has a happy ending to show that LGBTQ relationships are successful! I suggest the novel “Annie on my Mind” by Nancy Garden, and the film “But I’m A Cheerleader.”
10. The first time you publicly come out to others.
This may happen in a number of ways, maybe even without you noticing. You may choose to change your Facebook profile settings, sport a graphic tee or pin, or maybe just announce it. Although it may be scary, you may feel very liberated once you do so. However, again, this is your choice.
Life is full of “firsts,” like the first time you walk, your first date, your first day of school, or your first words. If you’re a member of the LGBTQ Community, you’ll probably be blessed with double of these “firsts.” There’s no need to rush to experience things like this list, but remember to enjoy them. Because they’re happening.