LGBT and a Little Less Lonely
Hello, Jamie here!
For my first blog post, I wanted to write a little bit about loneliness and isolation for people in the LGBT+ community. As a transgender man myself, I can completely relate to feeling like I had no friends. Making friends is a tough thing to do generally, let alone when there's maybe something about you that not everyone might accept.
But, there are ways to tackle loneliness as an LGBT+ person, and I promise you, it isn't something that has to last forever. And whilst the stereotype shouldn't be taken as bible (that all LGBT+ people know each other), I've found that there is a lot of truth in the LGBT+ community being a happy, welcoming, and friendly place.
You definitely don't have to make friends with only LGBT+ people, but it can be a great place to start and get some support. Here are some of the ways that you can use to connect with other LGBT+ people, and make friends generally:
1. Attend local community groups
This can be support groups, or college and school clubs and societies. Even work places commonly have LGBT+ forums, alliances, and meet ups. Give it a go!
2. Go to pride events
You don't even have to go with others, if you're feeling brave enough, just pop down yourself. It also doesn't have to be the *big* ones, local prides are super cute, unimposing, and less overwhelming for people who may not like big crowds. In fact, my favourite pride is one that's quite close to us, it's got the feels, you know?
3. Make friends online!
You can do this as a supplementary way of making friends, but being part of online groups can also be a great support if you can't attend any in person. Things like forums, and private groups on social media platforms can be great for this. Some of them are closed groups, but if you ask or get in touch with organisers, they can be a great source of relevant advice.
(p.s. we have a safe space forum on www.truetome.co.uk - you can check that out!)
4. Look beyond LGBT+ people
I know I said above that LGBT+ people are a friendly bunch, and although it can feel like it's the safest option, don't restrict yourself to just making friends within one community. Being LGBT+ is just one part of your identity, and it's certainly not the only thing that defines you. If you're struggling to make friends in your place of study or work, you can try and find other communities that you want to play a bigger part in, such as fan groups (Harry Potter clubs), sports clubs, or hobbies (like language classes, or knitting socials!)
5. Recognise that you are worthy of friends and being loved.
This is easier said than done, but you do deserve friendship in your life. Accepting this about yourself will help you have healthier friendships. Something else that can help is just realising that you’re not alone. It might feel like you are, and you might not have many people in your life you feel you can talk to or turn to if you need someone. But it won’t be like that forever, it can take in life to find your place and find the people that become like your family.
For all of you still in school, the rest of life is very different. School is not the real world, and for some, their school days are some of the loneliest and the worst. But for many, things really do get better. I’ve made most of my friends in my adulthood, and remember feeling intensely alone during my school years and like I was incapable of making friends – but things change, and I'm living proof. Honest!
Quick note: Digital Pride is an event hosted by Gay Star News. It runs this year from 29 April to 5 May, and comes together with a big online bang on May 3, 2019! Digital Pride is dedicated to enabling everyone to be part of a pride, so if you can't make one in person, you can still take part. If you can make one in person, be part of a digital one for everyone too! This year, Digital Pride are encouraging everyone to try and reach out to a friend you haven't heard from in a while. See how they're doing, send them a funny selfie, let them know you're thinking of them.
So go forth you beautiful spuds, make friends and be less lonely. If it’s not something you can do right now, then don’t worry, you will be able to one day. Just stay safe in whatever you’re doing.
Now excuse me as I go pester some of my friends I haven't spoken to in a while. Time to spam them with hearts and poop emojis...