Comment: The challenges and merits of being young & Gay

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

With Anti-Bullying Week taking place until Friday 23 November, 17-year-old Greg Cox writes about what it’s like to be a gay teenager for

I sometimes find life: challenging, impossible, perhaps downright depressing at times, and in my experiences I’ve found that others that I have spoken to tend to follow a similar thought.

Being ‘out’ in school (and college) brought about a sense of unworthiness, of abnormality, I was bullied for many years even before I was out, but through this shunning and maltreatment by my peers I gained a (socially inept) perspective that allowed me to advance my intellect, gain compassion, wit (and, with it the ability to retort any homophobic remark with such gusto that it left the room stunned and/or in hysterics for some time).

However, although I am confident in myself now, I cannot help but feel isolated as so many young people do, and is it surprising? Straight young people have crushes and relationships at a young age, and to be surrounded by straight couples whilst being (and always have been) single, does make you feel insecure. As does many experiences associated with places of education. I am not ashamed to say I feel alone a lot of the time, and that it does shake my confidence, but being in a relationship is not the be all and end all of everything.

Also with this comes the feeling of pressure to come out, but in my view I have never stopped coming out, as I meet new people in life, after a while I will come out to them (new teachers, new friends etc) but sometimes I’ll  just let it pass. (Though announcing it on social networks are NOT the way to do it, as I found out you can get a lot of anonymous backlash.)

I once felt that being gay was the only thing that defined me, it doesn’t have to be. I now have knowledge of science, music and art. I have interests and hobbies; being gay is still a part of me but it is more who I love rather than who I am.

So comes the future, as any young person I want to change the world, I have hopes and dreams, I want to have someone to have a family with, a stable job, a nice flat or house … or mansion, but I also have another aim in life: I want to stop young people growing up the same way I did. I want to stop homophobic language in schools, I want to make sex-ed more informative to LGBT young people, and I want to stop anyone feeling alone, insecure or depressed.

Impossible aims? No, because I’m sure I’m not the only one that wants to achieve them.