Gay Adults Offer Up Their Best Advice To Gay Teens

"It does get better. If you're having problems loving yourself, you won't one day."

For many LGBTQ people, accepting themselves and coming out can be an extremely difficult experience for a number of reasons — they may fear how loved one will react, or if they will be bullied by peers, for example. While we've made important legislative and social strides in the U.S. to help LGBTQ people access equal rights, there is still much to be done. 

In 2015, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report that showed 34 percent of gay students are bullied on school property, 10 percent are threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, 28 percent are bullied electronically, and 18 percent have experienced physical dating violence. 

In 2016, Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center looked at 14 years of hate crime data and told the PBS Newshour, "LGBT people are targeted for violent hate crimes at a rate of two times that of ... Muslims or Black people, four times that of Jews, and 14 times that of Latinos." It's no wonder that so many LGBTQ youth struggle with self-acceptance and self-love.

For those who live in communities that are not accepting, it can be difficult to know who to turn to for advice. While there are tons of support groups and organizations, social media can also be a place to find support. One person recently turned to Reddit to ask for help. 

On an AskReddit thread, Reddit user SidsyTheFirst asked, "Gay adults, what is your best advice for a gay teen?" In the comment section he wrote, "I recently (M) came out as bi but I really think I might be gay, so I'm still working things out." Several people took to the thread to share their best advice. 

You can read some of their responses below. 

1. "It does get better. If you're having problems loving yourself, you won't one day."

2. "Find someone you can talk to."

3. "You don't have to think and act a certain way to be gay."

4. "Always have safe sex."

5. "Make an effort to meet people."

6. "Gay or not, you change dramatically as you go from teenager to adult ... Being a teenager isn't easy for anyone."

7. "It's okay to not be sure about stuff, especially specifics of your identity, and you might find your perception of your exact identity changes."

If you're a parent of a gay teen looking for advice, this bartender might just have the perfect answer.

Kara Coley, a bartender at a gay bar called Sipps in Gulfport, Mississippi, received a call from a mom who wanted to know, "What was the one thing you wanted from your parents when you a came out?" Her son had just come out to her and she wanted to know the right thing to say.

"I think that you should just make sure he knows that you love and accept [him]," Coley told the mom. "I think everything will be OK from there!" 

Cover image via Unsplash

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