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TW: Suicidal thoughts, depression, internalized homophobia, and panic attacks.

June is Pride Month. Pride Month celebrates the many contributions made by the LGBTQ2SIA+ community to history, society, and cultures worldwide. This will be my first year of Pride as an openly queer person. It’s both scary and freeing. 

The Gay Liberation Movement has come a long way since the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. As recently as 2015, there have been large milestones in the community such as the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to legalize same-sex marriage. 

Despite some improvement, the LGBTQ2SIA+ community presently faces several threats. This year, there have been 552 anti-trans bills introduced across the country, according to the Trans Legislation Tracker. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security also warned Americans of possible threats at Pride events and venues this June from foreign terrorist organizations and their supporters. 

Hate speech, threats, and current legislation against LGBTQ2SIA+ people often leave the community feeling scared and hopeless. In a recent survey by The Trevor Project, 90% of LGBTQ2SIA+ young people said their well-being was negatively impacted due to recent politics. In the past year, 39% of LGBTQ2SIA+ youth also said they seriously considered attempting suicide. Unfortunately, one of those people was me. 

When I began to question my sexuality in the fall of 2022, I was terrified. I struggled with internalized homophobia and deep bouts of depression. I was afraid to face reality and accept myself. This led to a series of challenging months where I struggled with depression, anxiety, daily panic attacks, and suicidal ideation. I wanted to push my feelings away and hide that part of myself forever. But at the same time, I wanted to be free. 

The weight of disguising my sexuality was eating away at me. So in the spring of 2023, I slowly started coming out to my close friends. Luckily, I have a strong support system of friends who accepted me with open arms. 

While my friends have been there for me, I’m not out to everyone in my family. The buildup of fear surrounding my sexuality has caused ongoing feelings of shame which makes it hard to be open with everyone in my life. Unfortunately, this is a common experience, with 39% of queer adults saying they were rejected by a family member because of their sexuality. Lately, when I struggle with self-acceptance, I remind myself that I’m the same person before and after coming out. 

It’s also important to remember that coming out doesn’t have to happen all at once. It’s your life so you get to choose the timeline of your journey. While I’m not out to everyone, I’ve become comfortable with identifying as queer. I’m no longer denying a part of myself which feels so liberating. 

For some people, the use of labels is an important part of their coming out journey. Personally, trying to find a label that fits how I feel causes me more anxiety. I’m still in the early stages of acceptance and learning more about myself, so for right now, I refer to myself as queer. 

The amazing thing about the LGBTQ2SIA+ community in my experience is that they are accepting and understanding. Whether it’s coming out or changing the way you identify, other members of the community have often faced similar experiences which can help make hard times feel easier. 

In addition to community members and allies, there are also a number of organizations that LGBTQ2SIA+ people and youth can use for support. Remember to do what’s best for you, stay safe, and give yourself grace as you navigate your sexuality. Happy Pride Month!

National LGBTQ2SIA+ Resources:

Works Cited 

“A Survey of LGBT Americans.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 13 June 2013,

“2024 Anti-Trans Bills: Trans Legislation Tracker.” 2024 Anti-Trans Bills: Trans Legislation Tracker,

“About: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month: Library of Congress.” The Library of Congress,

“Same-Sex Marriage Is Made Legal Nationwide with Obergefell v. Hodges Decision | June 26, 2015.” History.Com, A&E Television Networks,

Santana, Rebecca. “FBI, Homeland Security Warn of Possible Threats to LGBTQ Events, Including Pride Month Activities.” AP News, AP News, 14 May 2024,


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