“I came home to find my mom sitting at the kitchen table with a 'mom' look on her face, when i asked how her day was i was terrified and taken back when she said "you're not a lesbian" because my worst fear had finally come true and i had no clue how she knew. I sat there tears rolling down my face as she told me that god didn't make me this way and it was just a phase, i ran up to my room and to find not one but all my journals on my desk just open. I don't know what to do or how to bring it up.”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Grace Says:

Hey there, friend.

I am so, so sorry this happened to you. As a lifelong journaler myself, I get a pit in my stomach thinking about your privacy being violated in this way. Journals can be such important spaces for us to explore our feelings, to document our thoughts, and to find clarity about who we are and who we want to be. I am angry at your mom on your behalf for not only disregarding your privacy in such a personal way, but then using that information to hurt you even further.

It’s ok for you to be angry, too.

I really encourage you to not bury your feelings about this horrible situation, but rather to do whatever you have to do to bring them into the light of day. Do you need to sit on your floor and scream and cry so the whole neighborhood hears? Girl, I’ve been there. Do you need to put on your heaviest shoes and stomp around the block? Onlookers may wonder what cool new sport you’re training for, but feeling your feet hit the hard earth may help ground you in the present rather than reliving that “mom” look over and over again in your head. Take your time working through these emotions, and allow each one to come and go as they do. Doing any of these things will help these feelings work their way through your system until, eventually, you feel strong enough to tackle the next phase of this horrible mess your mom created.

Here’s the truth: your mom doesn’t know shit about who you are. It’s true. Parents like to think they know everything there is to know about the humans they created, but what they forget is that they created autonomous humans who lead their own lives and have their own thoughts and are allowed to have a secret or two. Your mom cannot tell you who you are. You know who you are, at any given moment, better than anyone else ever will. And who you are, at any given moment, is exactly who you should be.

There were quite a few years in my life when my greatest hope was to passively coexist with my queerness. I thought if I could get to a place where I wasn’t beating myself up for it everyday, that that would be good enough for me. Now, I say with 100% certainty that I love my queerness, without a single apology or condition. Being queer has taught me so much and brought so much joy, knowledge, reflection, understanding, and fierceness into my life that I would never want to be anything else. My greatest hope for you is that you get to this place as well. Know that you have a worldwide LGBTQ community here to lift you up and be your family every step of your journey.

Now, what should you say to your mom? I think you have some options and should do whatever you feel most comfortable and safe doing while taking care of your own wellbeing first and foremost. Humans have an enormous capacity for change if they’re willing to open themselves up to new truths, and I happen to know many parents who did just that and are now incredible advocates for the LGBTQ community. This may be the case for your mom, too. But even if it isn’t, and whether that process unfolds over a week or a decade, it doesn’t mean your mom is right, or, more importantly, that you’re wrong. It means that she is a human who is flawed and has her own histories that she’s wrestling with, and isn’t able to be the mother that you deserve right now. Nothing more.

If you’re comfortable, you can encourage your mom to visit My Kid Is Gay, our site that gives advice and support to parents like her who are struggling to understand their kid’s LGBTQIA identity. We even have a whole section dedicated to discussing religion, which seems to be a major sticking point for your mom. Here are some pieces that might be a good starting point:

Additionally, you can sign your mom up for Coming Out with Care, our e-care package for parents whose kids have recently come out, and set a copy of This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids (with a whole chapter about religion!) on her nightstand. Both are incredible resources for parents in her exact position.

Confronting a parent—or any adult, for that matter—about how they have hurt us can be an incredibly daunting task. It may feel enticing to never mention the journal reading or the resulting encounter ever again. However, I really encourage you to think about what it would be like to confront your mom about how she hurt you. Writing her a letter detailing how you feel is no less valid than having a conversation face-to-face. Addressing what happened and making your voice heard can be incredibly healing, which is exactly what you deserve. Healing.

However you decide to approach your mom about this, I hope you do so standing firmly in the truth that you know you, and no one gets to tell you that who you are is not who you should be. I also hope that you listen to this mixtape, which I made to encourage you to put your middle fingers to the sky and say to the world, “Fuck you, I know who I am.”


Grace lives in Portland, Oregon and drinks a lot of coffee as a result. She works as the Senior Managing Editor of My Kid Is Gay, a site that provides advice and support to parents of LGBTQIA young people. She enjoys Vitamin D (in the form of sunshine, please), podcasts, intersectional feminism, and talking to people about their life goals. Follow her on Twitter @gracemanger

Cover Art designed by the incredible Isabella Rotman!


“How does one hookup? No strings attached. Is it different for different genders? Im a girl and she’s a girl. I’m newly in an open relationship and I’ve literally never just hooked up with anyone ever and I’m curious about it; but have absolutely no idea how people do it?! With complete strangers, too. I feel like Jess from New Girl with her fancy underwear and weird voice characters… Eep!”

Gaby Dunn Says:

FIRST THINGS FIRST: you absolutely do not have to be casually hooking up if you don’t want to — even if you’re in an open relationship.

Is what you’re feeling the usual discomfort that comes from trying a new thing, or is this discomfort based in pressure to do something you’re not wired for? Being in an open relationship is about options and about honesty. It’s not about sexing everyone all the time, whether or not you’re into it. If you’re the type for whom sex and feelings are intertwined, don’t hurt yourself in some misguided attempt at being “cool.” Every “sexpert” I know is a nerd and a half. No one is cool.

Assuming you’re into the hook up, let me spin you a story: When I suddenly found myself single a couple years ago, I hit up anyone who’d ever seemed down to clown to ask, “‘Sup?”

These were friends I was interested in turning into one night stands, and then continuing the friendship. Whenever I texted a cis male buddy, he was at my place within the hour. The female friends took a little more schmoozing—an invitation to drinks before the hook up. (Which is great! They’re my friends first! It’s not a punishment to hang out before doing it.)

With friends you want to bone but don’t want to date, you have to make it VERY CLEAR that this is one-and-done, and you have to be telling the truth about staying friends. That doesn’t mean hanging out hoping it happens again or bailing entirely on the friendship post-bang. It means hanging out. As friends. And if someone flips this on you, you’re well within your rights to call them out or stop being friends. Choose these people carefully!

With total strangers, you have to be honest about your gut instincts. If something feels weird or sketchy, it probably is! Prioritize your safety and happiness over seeming “chill” or “polite” to a stranger you met on OKCupid, Bumble, or Craigslist. If you get even one bad vibe pre-meet up, don’t go. If you feel a little scared entering their home, don’t go in. You know deep down when you feel safe.

The movies make anonymous sex look spontaneous and sometimes, it can be. But it also requires protecting yourself. Always let a friend or a roommate know the address you’re going to, and a time when you’ll check in via text. If you don’t check in by that time, they should call the police. If someone is coming to your place, get them on the phone and voice verify that it is them and not someone who sounds completely different (for instance, that it’s a 25-year-old woman and not a 58-year-old man). If you can meet in a well-lit public place like a coffee shop beforehand, that’s even better. That way if you change your mind, you can ask for help. Do not get into someone’s car. If there’s nowhere for you guys to hook up, tough nuggies. Do you want to end up on the sex offenders registry or get driven to the desert and dumped? (None of this sounds very sexy, but better alive than sexy.)

A safer middle ground for sex with strangers is going to sex parties. Register for a Fetlife account and search “events.“ Check if the party is 18+ or 21+ so you don’t go and get turned away. Usually the parties have different hooks so make sure you find one that fits your desires. They’re completely anonymous. (I’ve never given out my last name and some people use fake first names too.)

The question I get a lot about sex parties is if you have to hook up. You never HAVE TO do anything in a sexual situation. Especially at these places. You can go solely to watch. You can only touch women and tell men “no thank you.” (At some parties, men can watch even if you tell them no touching, but showing off can be hot!) You can leave after 5 minutes. (Women usually get in free. Straight couples pay. Single men pay more.) The ones I’ve been to have more of a consent clause than a regular bar: any guy seen as bothering a woman is reprimanded and/or thrown out pretty swiftly. (They don’t want YOU to leave so they’d rather he go. Women, in my experience, have all the power.)

There are also less intense “sex” parties like the female-only Skirt Club, which hosts orgies, but also gentle meet-and-greet cocktail hours where women interested in casual sex with other women can drink, exchange numbers, and have a low pressure flirty time.

You can also take some friends and go out to a bar, drink VERY responsibly or not at all, and do a flirt with strangers just to get the hang of it. You can even partake in some making out in the safe space of the bar and you never have to go home with anyone. (Scandalous!)

If you’ve never done any casual anything before, you can start extra slow and meet an anonymous sexting buddy on an app like Tinder or Her. Some people don’t want to meet in person, and are happy to keep your sexy-times digital. This relieves any worry about catching feelings and/or putting yourself in harm’s way for a slap and a finger-bang. For this I recommend exchanging Snapchats, which can be anonymous and tells you if someone has screenshotted you. (If they do it without asking, SHUT IT DOWN.)

I hope this was helpful and also a little bit salacious! And if you find a stranger or a friend to hook up with, I even made you this sexy playlist called “GET YOUR FREAK ON.” Take care of yourself out there, soldier! Safety first!


Gaby Dunn is a writer, comedian, YouTuber, and author living in Los Angeles. She is the host of the Bad with Money podcast and author of NY Times Best Selling novel I Hate Everyone But You. The Bad with Money book comes out from Simon & Schuster in Fall 2018!

Cover Art designed by the incredible Isabella Rotman!


“Okay, so, it’s another new year and this time I JUST WANT TO DO IT RIGHT! I feel like every January I organize things and have all these goals of being healthier and more positive and more productive… and then by March I’m back in my same habits again. How do I make actual change that will actually last?!”

Question submitted by Anonymous

Reneice Charles Says:

Let me tell you a story. Years ago I decided one of my resolutions would be to get back into doing yoga three times/week. Of course, I bought an entire “new year, new me” luxury yoga kit: a Luluemon mat, cute activewear sets, fancy sports bras with the cute criss cross straps, two water bottles, and yoga blocks.  I also got two Groupons for classes at popular studios in LA. I made it to approximately 4 classes before relinquishing yoga time for happy hour and Netflix time, leaving all my new swag–some with the tags still on–to collect dust.

About four months later, my motivation was renewed and I headed to what I thought was an advanced yoga class. I was in the mindset that jumping in at the level I was before I fell off the wagon, despite being way out of practice, and struggling at something that used to be easy for me would definitely get me motivated. I got to the studio, unrolled my lavender mat, framed it with my freshly unwrapped rainbow yoga blocks, and started stretching while waiting for the instructor to arrive. A few minutes later he came in, introduced himself, and thanked us for coming to the beginners flow class. I was pissed.

I wanted a challenge. I hadn’t been a beginner at yoga for eight years, and was definitely not interested in spending 90 minutes learning things I already knew. I was about to quietly pack up and leave when something told me to stay. I’d already made the effort of getting there, what was the harm in easing my way back in with a simple beginners class? I listened, I stayed, and let me tell you, that class kicked my ass. By the end I was exhausted and drenched in sweat. We held every pose for what felt like forever as the instructor walked around making minor adjustments to our form that made a major difference in how many muscles were engaged and how long they could hold out before the shakes set in. He explained that he had us in the poses for so long, and took such care with modifications because he didn’t want us leaving his class with weak foundations. That, he said, cheapens the entirety of your practice for the rest of your life. I was floored.

I left that class feeling so disappointed in myself. How could I have struggled that much in the class for newbies? More than I had in any advanced class in years? What was going on? As much as I wanted to brush the whole thing aside as a fluke, the instructor’s words stuck with me. I already had the answer: I’d been practicing with a weak foundation. Sure, I knew I could go to the advanced classes and complete the sequences, but I also knew that I’d eventually hit a wall with every pose that I couldn’t figure out how to move beyond. That was not for a lack of strength or ability, but simply because there’s only so much that can be built on a weak foundation.

So many of us have rolled into a new year with a mile-long list of resolutions that we are determined to succeed at–never mind that half the list is the same as it was last year; that was the “old us”, and this is the “new us”. All of a sudden we’re going to drink half our weight in water daily, wake up early for jogs, then make the green smoothie that we prepared ahead of time! We’ll also read more books, be more productive, go on more dates, and be nicer to our parents. But really? We won’t. We might try, but inevitably we’ll add yet another year to our history of made and abandoned resolutions and wonder “why do we always do this?” whilst returning to our old habits in defeat.

Here’s the thing: At its core, a resolution is simply a decision made mindfully to do (or not do) something. That’s it. It is one instantaneous item in a much larger overall process. That’s why so many of them go unfulfilled. Resolutions are easy to change, ignore, or give up on (especially if they’re overly optimistic)—plus they’re prone to ambiguity. Goals, on the other hand, are concrete, detailed, driven, and realistic. They have timelines attached for motivation and are much more than a snap decision scribbled on a piece of paper. We have to throw out our lists and see resolutions for the empty unnecessary promises they really are. We have to start a resolution revolution.

After my experience in that yoga class, I decided never to make a resolution again. Instead I’d set goals focused on internal improvement. I started to examine my cracks, identify patterns of behavior, and seek the root cause of my inability to achieve things I set out to do. The evidence all led back to one crucial place: I didn’t have the beginners level skill set needed to turn thoughts, hopes, and aspirations into dreams, then into goals, then actions, and finally achievements. The same is true for so many of us!

What you might need, instead of those detailed lists, is to work on a foundational principle: self-discipline. Without self-discipline you’ll never get to the achievement phase. You can read every self-help book in existence, go on every retreat out there, and still never take a step toward improvement if you don’t realize that somewhere along the way you never learned and strengthened the skills needed to make change occur.

So, to answer your question: “how do I make actual change that will actually last?’” Take the time to examine the cracks in your own foundation, then take what you find and practice! Practice self-discipline, practice self-awareness, practice mindfulness, practice confidence, practice self-sufficiency. Work only on those basic things first and I promise the rest will follow. All that practicing will take a lot of time and motivation, there’s no way around it. Fortunately there’s no lack of musical inspiration to help keep spirits high and minds on track while we work toward self-improvement, so I made you this playlist of some of my favorite songs to listen to on the way to crushing another goal. Play it, make a plan, and get ready for some change that will finally last.


resolution revolution

Reneice Charles is a just another queer, liberal, woman of color using the Internet to escape from reality and failing miserably. She received her MSW from New York University and is an Entrepreneur and Vocalist living in Los Angeles. She spends her spare time wishing she didn’t have to use her spare time convincing people that everyone deserves the same basic human rights.

Cover Art designed by the incredible Isabella Rotman!


“I am going home for Christmas, and it is the first time that I am out to everyone as gay: my parents, my cousins, my aunts and uncles. I am really anxious about it. No one has even done or said anything to make me feel like it won’t be fine, but I just feel like there is some kind of weird spotlight on me that I don’t want!! Do you have any advice for how to calm down?!? I’d also love a little advice on what to do if someone does say something that is upsetting…”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Be Steadwell Says:

First: take a moment to recognize how brave you are! You came out to your family! You should be deeply proud of yourself. Look at your fine self in the mirror and say, “Yea boo. You did it.”

Now Christmas. The spotlight. The eyeballs. The questions! The comments. The strong drinks, ugly sweaters, weird gifts, bad jokes, all of it. Holidays are a lot, even without a big rainbow elephant sitting in the corner. Even family members’ gestures of kindness can feel extra.  In theory, the ideal way to receive a loved one when they “come out” is to thank them, ask what they need, and continue loving them as you did before.  Anything other than that (unless solicited) feels like work.

There’s a lot of literature about online about how to support your family after you come out; how to answer questions, or what to do when/if they say something hurtful. Of course you want to be sensitive to their journeys… but Christmas is a lot, and taking on everyone’s separate journey at once may be a tall order.

When it gets to be too much, give yourself permission to step away. Take a breather. Make some tea. Meditate. Go for a walk. Maybe you’ll find the thing to say, and come back with love and knowledge for your confused kinfolk. Maybe you won’t come back. It’s your call. Keep in mind, you deserve peace too.  It is not your job to educate every member of your family at once.  You may want to circle back and chat with family members in small doses.  But for the holidays, find the space that feels safe and comfy for you. I know–as a queer person, a Black person, and a woman–when someone says something ignorant in my presence, I rarely have the words to respond in the moment.  I’m so shocked and hurt that I can’t articulate–I can’t even wrap my head around the possibility that someone could say something so cruel. I usually need to regroup before I can address it, if that’s what I choose to do.  The point is: take care of you, and find your happy place.

Let this playlist be your Christmas cup of tea/coffee/cocoa/toddy. These tunes will give you some calm, warm, and affirming vibes to adorn your safer space. This space could be a brisk walk in the woods, it could be a room with a candle, it could be your cousin’s car. Wherever you find peace, allow yourself the time refuel, smile and remember: “Yeah boo, you did it.”



Be Steadwell is a singer songwriter from Washington DC.  With roots in jazz, acapella and folk – Be calls her blend of genres QUEER POP.  In her live performances, she utilizes loop pedal vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage.  Be’s original music features her earnest lyricism, and proud LGBTQ content.​

Cover Art designed by the incredible Isabella Rotman!


“Hi, I’m thirteen and I’ve been questioning whether I am bi or not. I am a girl and I identify as one, but what I am not sure of is if I’m straight and just making illusions for myself, or bi, or just lesbian and denying it, or something else I don’t know of. Uugh, it’s all so weird. How could I find out what I am?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Kristin Says:

It is confusing, isn’t it? We are given these letter-shaped symbols to mush together in ways that will explain our millions of feelings to ourselves and to other people, and they don’t always just “fit.” Now, I do like letters and words, and I think that they can help us work through our feelings in incredible ways. For example, it is helpful for me to be able to say “My name is Kristin and Demi Lovato has come out as not straight and that makes me feel SIMPLY DELIGHTED.”

Now, I know you didn’t ask me about my feelings regarding Demi Lovato, but I do think they are relevant. Hear me out. Right now, in the year 2017, I call myself bisexual because I know I have the capacity to be attracted to more than one gender. I also call myself queer because I love the word and all of its infinite possibilities. In years past I identified as a lesbian, because I didn’t yet fully understand all of my attractions (do we ever?), but I knew that I felt at home in the “lesbian culture” of the early 2000s (think The L Word, fedoras, pin stripes, and lip gloss). I have used a lot of words over the years to help me move through my various understandings of myself, but one thing has remained true: when I think a girl is pretty (and especially if that girl is into kissing other girls), I am SIMPLY DELIGHTED.

There isn’t really a word for that feeling, and it’s one I have had for as long as I can remember. It’s a feeling that I had before I even knew I had it, but it is also one that took me a lot of time to understand.

When I was thirteen, my best friend’s name was Katie. She was hilarious and loud and strong and her hair was always shiny and smelled like this one deliciously incredible conditioner, the name of which I cannot remember, but that came in a blue plastic bottle. I never thought about kissing Katie, ever. I thought about the idea of dating boys (seemed interesting) and the asshole teacher who made me spit out my gum even when it wasn’t disturbing anyone (the worst) and how much I loved music (it made me feel like I could do anything) and how I wanted to dye my hair using Manic Panic (blocked by parental bullshit, of course). Looking back on my friendship with Katie, I can now draw connections between the way I felt about her and her hair, and my reasons for going out of my way to get the same conditioner so I could smell that amazing smell all the time… but that is because I am now 36 years old, and I have a wife and a cat and a long history of crushing and dating and wondering and questioning – which is what you are doing now!

*blasts ‘The Circle of Life’*

Here is one promise that I can make to you: You are not making illusions for yourself. If you have feelings that are confusing when it comes to people of many genders, that is real: you have confusing feelings about people of many genders! I will go out on a limb here and say that prooooobably means you aren’t 100000000% straight, and that it will also likely shift and change as you grow. And I am not trying to pull some “you’re 13 and shit will change because you are young now” crap on you, I am literally saying that your attractions and desires will shift and change forever.

Part of our identity is the wondering. Do you want to kiss the girl in your science class? Rad! I’ve been there. Do you want to hold hands with the boy who lives three houses down? Makes total sense. Do you want to spoon with the nonbinary barista at your local coffeeshop? Hooboy, I totally get that. For now, maybe that means you choose to call yourself bisexual. Even if you kiss that girl in your science class and it isn’t fireworks, you can still call yourself bisexual! And, if you do suddenly realize that, hey, you aren’t attracted to more than one gender after all? THAT IS OKAY! It doesn’t mean you were just lying to yourself about your feelings before, it just means that you have a mind that is open to the many possibilities that exist out here in this crazy world.

Before I go and leave you with all of life’s confusing feelings, let me do two more things to try to help you walk this maze (we all walk it! I promise!). First, let’s break your question into three concise lil bits:

How do you know what to *call* yourself?
I think most of us just choose a word that seems kind-of-correct and then change it down the line if we find something that fits even better. It’s okay to do that, and it isn’t “attention seeking” or “lying” to yourself or anyone else to try on identity words and see how they feel.

How do you know you aren’t lying to yourself? 
Well, you wrote into an advice site anonymously to figure out more about feelings you are having. That isn’t the typical behavior of a person who is lying about their feelings… it is the typical behavior of a person who has very real feelings that they are trying to sort through. Trust your feelings. The world out here will try to tell you not to trust them, especially when you are a girl, and that is a giant pile of bulllllllshittttt. Your feelings are real. Confusing as all hell, sure, but real.

How do you know what you are?
You’re you. I know, I know, my part-time job is probably writing cards for Hallmark… BUT IT IS TRUE. You are you and right now that you has confusing feelings about attraction and sexuality and identity. Some of that will always be confusing, and some of it will solidify over time. For now, explore those feelings. Write them down. Remember to trust yourself, and remember that you can be more than one thing (at the same time! at different times! ahhhh!).

Second, some music. I mentioned earlier that music made me feel like I could do anything when I was thirteen. It still makes me feel like that, and it also helps me stand up to a world that tells me to doubt myself and my feelings. Music helps me face those confusing feelings and say “fuck off, world, I can be something different than what you expect. I can change. I can be a million things all at once, and I don’t have to pick one and I don’t have to apologize.”

Last week I asked all of my internet pals to tell me about songs made them feel like they could be whatever the fuck they wanted to be, and so together we created this mixtape for you. When you are feeling that creeping doubt, pop your headphones in and remember that you are who you say you are even if that is *not knowing exactly who you are*, and anyone who challenges that can SCREW.




Kristin runs Everyone Is Gay, My Kid Is Gay, and OUR Restroom, co-authored This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids, and worked as host & producer of PBS Digital’s LGBTQ series First Person. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast called Buffering the Vampire Slayer with her wife, Jenny Owen Youngs. You can follow her on twitter @kristinnoeline​

Cover Art designed by the incredible Isabella Rotman!