There’s no how-to guide, no roadmap, no detailed manual. Everyone’s journey through discovering their sexuality looks a little bit different, but sharing our knowledge can help those who are starting their journey, especially when it comes to coming out (to themselves and their loved ones).
To commemorate the power of community despite not being able to physically be together, LELO hosted a “Dear Younger Queer Self” writing contest to get people to share their first-hand advice, and we have to hand it to them, they had really powerful things to say. What they all came down to was finding happiness in living their authentic selves, and that’s something we can all learn from.
Here are our 3 winners of the “Dear Younger Queer Self” contest (amongst so many amazing entries that will also be published on our blog!).
Jessica Fesler kicks off their letter with “fuck the box,” and that is a pillar LELO believes at its core. Record shows that trying to place people into categories is not only limiting, but impossible. What makes us different is what makes us beautiful and real life is painted with every color of the rainbow.
Jessica reminds us that trying to be perfect is paralyzing, and that although pain is inevitable, suffering is a choice. Take advantage of the amazing queers in your community—they have paved the road behind us and are willing to extend a hand so that we can take it from here. We have accomplished so much, and there are still many miles to go. We’ll say it one last time… fuck the box!
Quinton’s letter is filled with vivid imagery that makes our “chest feel like the whirring engine of a Boeing 737.” He points out something a lot of queers experience once coming out, the silence of their family and friends. While it may not be the worst case scenario we prepared for, silence can make us feel exactly how Quinton describes, like we’re treading water—but remember to keep moving!
Not everyone will understand, just like you initially didn’t. Being vulnerable is incredibly scary but incredibly necessary to foster growth, and that goes for any facet of our lives. Quinton reminds us that “boys cry too.”
Baby names, gender reveals, the colors painted on the walls of our nurseries—we are forced into boxes long before we enter this world which can make it really confusing not growing up in a body that feels like home. LostBoy’s journey starts at age 3 and takes us down a twisting road that encapsulates the holistic journey that is far from a straight shot.
Through the lessons in his letter, he reminds us to “keep our heartspace open, the way people did for us while we were still learning.” There will be confusion and rage and sadness, but reaching that highest mountain peak of self acceptance is worth the struggle. Nobody can take away your undeniable breakthrough.
Wherever you are on your journey, know that you are not alone. You may be currently misunderstood by those around you, but know that coming to terms with your authentic self is the most freeing feeling in the world.