Activist Gives A Resonating Insight On What It Feels Like To Grow Up Gay

Activist Gives A Resonating Insight On What It Feels Like To Grow Up Gay

When your experience isn’t the norm, when it’s to the sides of the margins, in the emptiness, finding the right words to describe it can be daunting.

But this week, an activist took to Twitter and found a way to put into words the struggle that queer folk face when growing up in a world that routinely denies their existence, and it has resonated with hundreds of thousands of users.

Alexander Leon, an Australian writer based in Sydney, shared his thoughts on how being in the closet as an LGBT+ youth impacts how we define and perceive ourselves.

“Queer people don’t grow up as ourselves,” he wrote, “we grow up playing a version of ourselves that sacrifices authenticity to minimise humiliation & prejudice. The massive task of our adult lives is to unpick which parts of ourselves are truly us & which parts we’ve created to protect us.”

In a thread of poignant posts, Leon goes onto describe how difficult coming to grips with this reality is for most queer people, and that the journey to self-awareness and authenticity is both a constant and bumpy one.

“It’s massive and existential and difficult,” he continued, “but I’m convinced that being confronted with the need for profound self-discovery so explicitly (and often early in life!) is a gift in disguise.”

“We come out the other end wiser & truer to ourselves,” he said. “Some cis/het people never get there. All of this is to say – be kind to yourself. Discovering who you really are is an enormous task it doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it happen without some hiccups along the way. Be patient, be compassionate, be vulnerable and exist loudly. And most of all – be proud!”

The original tweet tallied more than 43,000 retweets and 157,000 likes in just less than a day. Rippling and resonating across social media, Leon’s words prompted many to wonder just how much they ring true to them personally.


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  1. Delle
    January 09, 08:27 Reply

    He clearly stated some truths there.

    We’re almost always outside of our beings. It’s funny when people call us bitter and sensitive and touchy and what nots, perhaps if they read this update (to understand and not criticise), they’ll finally get it. Because truth is, a lot of us play these things out to protect ourselves. Twenty-three years of being told you are not enough and you expect that I am open-armed to any and everybody with unclear and prejudiced intent? Hell no.

    However, I have come to know firsthand that a lot of queer people are the sweetest, kindest, most accommodating individuals and whilst all these adjectives are human features and can’t be categorically said to be dependent on sexuality, it’s only normal to make an exception especially for a sect that’s believed to be the opposite.

    Thank goodness I love me. It’s a lot easier dealing with all the misconceptions when you love and believe yourself. I just hope a lot find that as well cos that’s the only time we will be able to say we have won the battle.

      January 09, 13:16 Reply

      Well said.

      Loving and accepting one’s self is the first step to being on the road to true self discovery.

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