Three boys sitting together on a park bench. They are all looking ahead with serious expressions.

Messages for anyone struggling with their gender identity or sexuality

  • 5 min read
  • 19 June 2024

Author: Taiwo, Alice and R

Topics mentioned: gender and mental health, sexuality and mental health

About: We asked our bloggers to share messages for anyone who’s been made to feel ashamed of their sexuality or gender identity. Here’s what they said.


Two people walking and talking on the street.

"I love you"

By Taiwo, 16

When my sister came out to me she told me that she hated herself. She told me that she was angry with herself. At that time all I could tell her was, “You’ll be okay.” I didn’t have that same experience – I was accepting of myself and my sexuality because I knew that the people I loved might not be as accepting, so I had to be there for myself.

I hadn’t come out to my sister yet because I was kinda scared that she would be disgusted, seeing that she didn’t even like herself. I told her I was bisexual. She said, “I love you.” How could she love me if she didn’t love herself? How could she tell me to have no shame if she was ashamed of herself? So, I took her words lightly. Me and my sister really only had each other and that’s why I would like to say that I grew on her.

My sister told me one day that, “When I see you live so confidently and so proudly, when I see you move and talk with truth and with love, I find it hard to hate myself, because I love you so much.” So, my message to all of you is to live with love and confidence, pride and truth. I, my sister and others will love you too!


A young person smiling at their friends.

Celebrate yourself this Pride month

By Alice, 24

This pride month I’m taking time to reflect on my journey growing up as a bisexual and genderqueer person. Though, outwardly, I am very proud of who I am, it hasn’t always been easy. Along the way to accepting my sexuality and gender identity there have been times when I’ve embraced and expressed my queerness with undeniable joy, times when I’ve doubted myself and felt ashamed, and times when I’ve not thought about my identity at all!

All of this might sound pretty typical for a young LGBTQIA+ person figuring themselves out, all the while trying to navigate general growing pains too. But I know that life would’ve felt a lot less daunting if I simply had someone say to me that my identity is nothing to be ashamed of. Our identity is just part of the package that makes us who we are, and no one can take that away from us.

There might be times when I’ve struggled to feel like I belong and my family hasn’t been as supportive as I’d hoped, but nothing can take away from the feeling of being unapologetically yourself. Chosen family is real, and finding people who can see and love you for who you are can be lifesaving. But choosing yourself is important too. And wherever you are along your journey of discovery and acceptance – whether you’re trying on different labels to find which ones fit comfortably, whether you’re ditching labels altogether, or whether you’re attending 50 Pride parades this month and just need a reminder – know that you are enough.

It’s important to remember that there is no one way to be LGBTQIA+. We don’t have to prove our identities or have everything figured out, and we don’t owe anyone anything! We can simply celebrate our existence because we matter, and we are valid. 


A young Black woman sitting on a bench in the park. She is smiling.

Asexuality doesn’t mean I don’t love

By R, 25

Part of Pride is about knowing there isn’t a ‘normal’ way to feel and about recognising that we should be able to talk about feeling differently. I’ve found it hard to talk about being asexual because it's misunderstood. When I try and explain that I don’t feel physically attracted to anyone, people can be dismissive or assume that I have had a bad experience that is making me avoid relationships.

Sometimes asexuality gets used in a way that makes people think I am making a political/religious call to reject sexual urges or sexualised culture instead of expressing my way of feeling. I get called confused or naïve and told that I will understand and feel ‘normally’ when I find the right person. It makes me question myself and whether there is space for the way I feel. It can be quite isolating as I find sexualised content – jokes, films, music – uncomfortable and so I’m often not up on trends. It makes me scared for the future.

Asexuality is different for everyone, but for me it isn’t the same as not feeling anything or hating all other humans. I do love. I dream of a ‘friendship relationship’ – based on non-physical affection with all the emotional intimacy and ‘through thick and thin’ of the heteronormative ideal. I would want someone to share my victories with and to have someone in my corner, but the idea of physical contact makes my skin crawl. It would make me feel like an alien to even suggest this to someone and so I worry I will always be alone.

The lack of representation of my experience makes me feel like a freak, but asexuality is a valid way to feel. If you identify as asexual, know that it’s okay if you aren’t attracted to people in the same way as other people.

As Pride shows, there is more than one way to show affection – take the time you need to find the words that are right for you and eventually people will hear what you mean.

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