“I’m 17 years old and I move around a lot because my parents are in the military. I’m semi-“out” as gay but I have trouble finding supportive people in my life because I’m always moving to another city. How do I form a sustainable support system under these circumstances?”
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Shane Billings as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions
Sustainable support systems, in general, are challenging. But don’t fret! Seriously, leave those frets at the door. Because, as it turns out, [*adjusts spectacles*] by writing in with your question, you already sort of answered it… like you incepted yourself… like Joseph Gordon Levitt is dance-fighting through a rotating hallway inside your brain.
What I mean is: online LGBTQ support communities, like Everyone is Gay, can be some excellent starting points in looking for sustainable support. The panelists and I may not know you personally, but we’re here to support you!
You can also take a peek at Everyone Is Gay’s Resource Page this list of LGBTQ Resources from Lambda Legal, organized by state. A lot of the groups listed have online components, ideal for gay tumbleweeds like yourself.
Your family can also be a useful starting point. I know you’re not completely out, so you don’t have to like, cartwheel into the kitchen with your Oklahoma!Original Broadway Cast Recording. Take your time, and be safe.
Try generating small conversations with your parents about your situation, even if it’s just to say “Hey, I have a tough time keeping friends because we move so much.” If anything, it can help lay the groundwork for learning to talk about your personal issues in general. Like your CRUSHES [*starts to sweat*] or even KISSING [*shatters into a thousand pieces from feelings*]
[*sweeps up pieces because they made a mess*]
Okay, and also, can I just say… No matter where you are, or how many fabulous supportive people you know, the most important person in your support system is YO’ SELF… ahem… yourself.
Learn to create a dialogue with yourself (not in a weird Gollum vs. Smeagel way, but in a cute Hey, Self. I think you’re dope. Keep it up! kind of way).
Do you a keep a journal? I highly recommend it. It’s like having an imaginary pen pal (a.k.a. support system), who always reads your letters because your thoughts, reflections, and feelings are valid. More than anything, it’s great to have a safe and boundless space where you can articulate yourself.
But if journals aren’t your thang… Some people use prayer, some people do affirmations in the mirror. However you choose to do it, learning to be your own support system is an extremely valuable skill, especially when you’re the “forever new kid in town” (potential garage band name???).
And finally, my advice for any person looking for self-support is: find a full-length mirror, throw on your most bodacious I-can-do-bad-all-by-myself music, and leave it ALL on the DANCE FLOOR. Think Kevin Kline from In & Out doing “I Will Survive.” Hell, throw on some high heels and a kimono if you’re feeling it (and trust me, you’re feeling it). Go to it, Tumbleweed! I really believe that once you become the first member of your own support network, others will pick up on it and arrive on their own. And whatever you do, leave those flippin’ frets at the door!
Forever and ever and evarrr,
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