Shala Kerrigan – “Dear Younger Queer Self” Contest Finalist Story

Dear Younger Queer Self,

Oh my darling, darling stubborn girl! Thank you for standing up for yourself even when you had doubts.


For standing up for how you felt and for refusing to feel shame about it.

Yes. Bisexual is absolutely a real thing. Yes. You are attracted THAT way to other girls and to boys. You’re right. This isn’t a phase you’ll outgrow. It’s not just experimenting, or at least not any more experimentation than straight young people do as they discover who they are.

You’re going to spend the rest of your life figuring it out and that’s a good thing.

You’ll be the unofficial/official photographer of parades you’ll watch grow in attendance. You’ll make such good friends.

Your refusal to apologize or compromise is going to inspire people to come out with their own feelings.

Oh darling stubborn girl, you’re AMAZING.

And it starts right here. This moment when you tell Mom that you like girls. Then when you realize you like boys too and she says “I knew you’d outgrow liking girls” and you tell her that you didn’t.

She will accept it one day and she will never stop loving you.

This is the start of a glorious, strange, sometimes heartbreaking journey and it starts here with your bravery and your stubborn insistence that you know who you are.

That you know who you are and it’s normal for you.

That you know who you are and you’re not a bad person.

That you’re never going to apologize for liking both men and women that way.

You’re right. You’re going to spend a lot of time working out what’s right and wrong for you. You’re going to make mistakes.

But you’re RIGHT.

You’re right that how you treat people is a better gauge of morality than who you sleep with, or how often.

You’re right about kindness and you’re right that things that increase joy and love in the world are good.

Digging in your heels, stubborn, right now that’s just all feelings.

But you’ll find those words and you’ll use them and you will help other people with them. Other people like you, and ones who aren’t like you will find their words too. We will change the world.

You have a whole family waiting out there.

When you’re my age, middle aged, watching your skin get softer, watching lines form around your eyes, you’re never going to regret this moment.

Darling stubborn girl, you are glorious!!!

Thank you.

Love, and you do love yourself,