“What Would You Tell Your ‘Straight’ Self?”: I Asked 30 Queer People And Their Answers Will Gut Punch You In The Feels

“What Would You Tell Your ‘Straight’ Self?”: I Asked 30 Queer People And Their Answers Will Gut Punch You In The Feels

I don’t believe that every queer person “always knew” that they were queer. There are some that know from the time that they are kids, but there are just as many who don’t know they are queer until they are. Does that make sense? All of us can look back and say “oh my GOD how was this not a blaring red flag that I’m flaming??” Personally, I didn’t know I was any tidbit of queer until a queer moment presented itself to me. But there are times that should have given me a hint. Like the time I asked for a tool belt for Christmas in fourth grade. And then received that tool belt and helped my dad build a shed in our backyard. Or the time I kissed my best friend on the playground to “prove two girls kissing was no big deal.” Or that time I played softball for 13 years. Hindsight is 20/20 and retroactive gaydar is MUCH more accurate than regular gaydar. If I could talk to my “straight self,” or at least the self that didn’t know I was gay, there are so many things I’d want to tell her. It would honestly overwhelm her and make her cry and never talk to me again, so it’s probably a good thing that I can’t. But just for the fun of self-reflection, I asked 30 lesbians and queer women what they would say to themselves before they came out.

1. “You’re not ‘practicing’ when you make out with your friends, you’re just gay.” — Emma W., 24

2. “You don’t have to do that with him.”  — Anonymous, 31

3. “You know how in high school, your soul mission in life was to make your best friend laugh during class? Yeah, you have a giant crush on her. You have absolutely no idea that lesbians come in all shapes, sizes, and presentations. (I thought all lesbians were supposed to look like Ellen until I was 18) The summer after you graduate high school, gay marriage will be legalized. One day you are going to move to a huge, diverse city where you won’t be afraid to be yourself. You’re going to fall in love FOR REAL and experience what a healthy, happy relationship should feel like.” — Kelly C., 23

4. “Love whoever tf you want! Your people will love and support you no matter what.” — Anonymous, 25

5. “Love is so much bigger than you think it is. It’s not what your parents have, or what your friends have, or what you see in movies. It’s not what you’ve experienced so far—all that doubt and insecurity. It’s so much more than all that and it’s yours to invent. I can’t wait for you to see how happy you can be and feel how good it feels to embrace who you are.” — Abby C., 20

6. “Don’t worry so much about defining who you are. Live authentically and rest will fall into place!” — Casey F., 23

7. “You’re not broken or wrong for not fitting in this mold and everyone who’s supposed to love you will continue to love you when you come out.” — Dom P., 26

8. “Do you even like boys? You’re scared of other females for a reason.” — Mariah O., 26

9. “Your friends don’t actually feel the same way about girls that you do. It’s more than ‘just wanting to be friends.’” — Anonymous, 22

10. “‘Take your time, but there’s room for all of you.’ I fully accepted my queer identity while also experiencing a lot of racism, sexism, and imposter syndrome from being a first-gen college student. I would tell myself that the time I needed was valid and that all parts of my identity deserved the care I gave them. Your queerness is not contingent upon whether other people know about it. It’s about you and how you experience yourself. You planted a seed and cared for it and watched it grow. There is so much joy to come for you with living queerly and openly. Being Black and queer and femme is so beautiful. I love you. You got this.” — Dom O., 26

11. “You think you have it good right now. And you’re not wrong! Yes—you have a wonderful relationship with a man who treats you pretty well and to a certain extent, you’re happy and you’re growing and all of that. But if you think you’re happy now? Just wait. If you think you have it good right now, just wait. If you think you’re growing right now? Oh sweet baby angel, just wait. When you decide to fully allow yourself to question the things you think you don’t have to question, when you allow yourself to do the things you want to do, and allow yourself to be curious and open and allow yourself to make a new choice even when it feels like you already made it? Your world is going to change in some of the best, most indescribable ways. You are allowed to choose a different choice. You are allowed to be someone new. You are allowed to not only want things to go from good to spectacular, but honestly? You also absolutely deserve it.” — Kendra S., 31

12.Make it or Break It isn’t that good of a show, you know why you really watched it…” — Anonymous, 23

13. “You don’t like him for a reason, you moron!” — Lea M., 24

14. “It’s okay to not know everything about yourself. Don’t be afraid to experience life and everything in it! It’s gonna take some time to process all the waves of emotions you are feeling. But soon you’ll realize how beautiful they are, and they will sculpt you into who you are. Oh, and don’t be too scared to tell your parents you’re gay; they already figured it out and love you endlessly. They couldn’t be prouder of you.” — Dalia L., 27

15. “To actually accept who I am. And to come out sooner instead of hiding. I became so much happier once I was comfortable with myself.” — Erica S., 25

16. “Stop worrying about what other people may think about you. Always be open and honest with yourself.” — Anonymous, 27

17. “It’s ok if it’s confusing now; it’ll all come together eventually and you’ll figure it out.“ — Anonymous, 24

18. “I know that saying you’re gay out loud to your friends and family, and even to yourself, feels like there’s no turning back. It feels definite and final, and that seems pretty scary. Coming out feels like the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. Your people will love you even more. They’ll slip up a few times along the way, but you should know that they celebrate you and the love you find louder and larger than you ever could have thought. Leaving behind your straight life will be challenging. Sorry to tell you that heartbreak still exists in the gay world, but that’s okay. And at 26, you’ll marry the woman who makes your world stop. Your world post-coming out will be full of love, new relationships, and self-acceptance. Take the leap and don’t look back.” — Jillian C., 26

19. “I know it feels like you don’t belong anywhere, but you’ll know why soon enough. Until then don’t worry so much about everyone else, just keep figuring yourself out every day and the rest will come to you. “ — Avery S., 27

20. “Stop trying to fight it… men are just meant to be your friend. But women…women are meant to be all types of things.“ — Milan B., 26

21. “You’re always going to be learning new things about yourself and it’s ok that you didn’t ‘figure this out’ sooner. And also, get ready to be a lot hornier a lot more often.” — Kate T., 28

22. “It’s okay. Your journey is going to take time but you’ll come out when you’re ready – and 29. But that when you do it’s going to be the best decision you’ve ever made. And you’ll make the best friends.” — Lauren G., 31

23. “You didn’t need to procrastinate being yourself. Everyone who is important to you will remain and those who don’t, don’t matter. But either way, your happiness isn’t from other people or a relationship, that can only come from yourself. And the right person will come along and only enhance that.” — Morwenna L., 25

24. “There is nothing wrong with you. You are okay and you will figure this all out. It’s scary now and might be scary in the future, but you will get through it. You will have a beautiful, amazing, and wonderfully queer life. Keep hanging in there, because it really does get better.“ — A.S., 25

25. “Yes, your feelings are valid. Being bi doesn’t make you any less of a part of the LGBTQ community. “Coming out” doesn’t have to be such a big deal and you don’t owe it to anyone to make them comfortable with your “new” sexuality. Your friends and family will continue to love and support you. The box you’re trying so hard to fit into doesn’t serve you. Outgrowing the box will be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself and your well-being. There’s nothing to be afraid of.” Kelsey G., 26

26. “It gets easier. You don’t have to have it all figured out right now or even next year.” — Ayana B., 26

27. “Loving a woman is a lot harder than you think it will be. But it is worth it. It’s the best feeling you could ever imagine. “ — Brianna Y., 25

28. “It’s okay to take time to figure out who you are. You can identify as bisexual even if your attraction to men and women isn’t exactly 50/50, and that the only meter than can measure the validity of that label is your own heart. I have two moms so I was very lucky to have lots of acceptance and normalization of being in the LGBTQ+ community in my household, and for that I am very grateful. I would tell her to relax and just create experiences and memories without trying to define them as much.” — Alex W., 21

29. “I would tell myself to keep going and accept myself. Life is much better once you let go of those that don’t approve and carry on. Just realizing that high school would end and I could be me would have been helpful.” — Gordanna C., 29

30. “Your friends are not going to think you have crushes on them all, relax!!” —Cassidy L., 23

Would you like to be a part of my sapphic surveys? DM me or email me and I will send you upcoming queer questionnaires!


About the author

Ali Hinman

Karaoke queen and woman of extremes