Viral Tweet: Young LGBTQs ‘Grow Up Playing A Version Of Ourselves’ To Avoid Prejudice

Viral Tweet: Young LGBTQs ‘Grow Up Playing A Version Of Ourselves’ To Avoid Prejudice
Alexander Leon (image via Instagram/Gökhan Tanrıöver)

Alexander Leon, an LGBTQ activist and writer at the queer group Kaleidoscope Trust, found a tweet of his go viral when he seemed to crystallize the process young queer people experience regarding identity into just two sentences.

“Queer people don’t grow up as ourselves, we grow up playing a version of ourselves that sacrifices authenticity to minimise humiliation & prejudice,” wrote Leon. “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.”

His thread went on to wonder if “being confronted with the need for profound self-discovery” isn’t, in fact, a “gift in disguise. We come out the other end wiser & truer to ourselves.”

“All of this is to say – be kind to yourself,” he added. “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 initial post has been liked 194,000+ times and retweeted 53,000+ times.

Folks in the Twitterverse found the message resonated with their own experiences as well. Here are just a few of the comments:

“100% spot on. I feel like I’m living my teenage years trying to discover who I am and being comfortable and confident with myself.”

“Omg. I’ve never seen someone articulate this so well.”

“So completely true, but I’ve never seen or thought it like that in words before. Thank you – from someone who for various reasons has recently had to start from scratch.”

“Beautifully put and painfully true.”

“Hell, I grew up in a loving home with people who accepted me for being gay but I was playing the role so I can live up to what people think I should be. This tweet hit so close to home. Because you can have loving people in your life but still you play that role.”

“Literally what I try to explain to people. You grow up and think you know who you are until you come out and have to go through finding yourself all over again after so many people are already past that point.”

“This stopped me in my tracks, the words you used really hit home for me and a lot of people it seems. Gorgeous analysis of why a lot of gay men have identity issues throughout their lives.”

Last year, the Trevor Project released its National Survey On LGBTQ Youth Mental Health which showed a majority of young LGBTQs are closeted at some point in their life. That study indicated less than half of LGBTQ youth were out to an adult at school, and 71 percent of young LGBTQs reported feeling sad or hopeless for at least two weeks in the past year.

As his tweets went viral, Leon shared he was humbled and overwhelmed by the reaction to his words.

He also took the opportunity of increased visibility to call attention to the Australian bushfires which are ravaging his country.