Today marks 25 years since Freedom Youth started in 1995! I’ve been going since year 10, so during secondary school – so this awesome organisation has been a big part of my life, and it’s been a massive honour and joy to be a member that supports LGBTQ+ young people. So it’s exciting to say that Freedom is turning 25!
For those who are unaware of what Freedom Youth do, it’s a place that is open to anyone questioning their sexuality or gender and is supported by a team of friendly and knowledgeable LGBTQ+ youth
workers.When I found Freedom, I had come out as bisexual to myself and other people. But I didn’t know anyone else who was in the LGBTQ+ community. But Freedom acted as a place where I could be myself, no labels attached. And going every Tuesday, and now Wednesday, was the best choice – I’ve met so many amazing people who I now consider some of my closet friends. Another plus is that it has helped me become more proud of myself, and it’s all because Freedom is such an awesome space that’s free of judgement.
So happy 25th Birthday Freedom Youth – you’re such an awesome, amazing and supportive place and you’ve helped me make some of the best friends imaginable! Here’s to another 25 years!
Identity is complex, fluid and confusing – and everyone has the right to explore it. Trust me. But part of learning and understanding that both gender and sexuality aren’t so black and white means that sometimes these labels – and as a result of your identity – will change – and that’s OK. Let’s use me as an example – I didn’t know I was bi until late into my secondary school experience, and I didn’t know I was transmasculine until December of 2018. I also didn’t realize I was nonbinary until late August 2018. What this means is that I discovered my queer identity in three (3) different parts, and I discovered my gender identity after my sexuality – which is 100% ok and valid. So no matter what stage you may be at, please know that you are valid – and even if you come to realize that you are cisgender and heterosexual, guess what? The fact that you were brave enough to explore your identity was super cool!
Though while the labels I currently use have not changed, the way in which I define them has – and this is especially with my sexuality. When I first started using the term bi to describe my sexuality, I used the traditional definition (‘sexual and/or romantic attraction to both men and women’), and while that was valid for a time, I then discovered my gender identity. And though my label hasn’t changed, the way I define it has – I now define it has, ‘sexual and romantic attraction to multiple genders’ – this includes men, women and nonbinary people. Could I qualify as pansexual? Yes! But I prefer the label ‘bisexual’ because it makes me happy and comfortable! But I’m also aware that I could wake up and realize that I’m actually a completely different label, and that would be perfectly OK!
Questioning your gender identity and/or sexuality is hard – and that’s ok, and I believe that you’ll find the right labels that suit you – and even if you come to the conclusion that you don’t like labels, that’s also fine! But unfortunately, the existence of gatekeepers means that someone may feel unable to explore their identity due to these gatekeepers being quick to judge and erase the idea of exploring your identity.
You are valid and brave for exploring your identity. I’m very proud of you for doing so, and you deserve all the love, validation, acceptance as well as support that is available to you.
As part of your social transition, you may wish to change your first name to something that fits you better – and thats understandable! But choosing a new name when you’ve had your old one for however long can be difficult, so I wanted to write up a guide on how you can come up with a name that suits you. So if you decide that you want to change your name, you can read my previous post about changing your name here.
I wanted to write this because honestly the process of choosing my name wasn’t a particularly eventful one – I literally just typed in ‘gender neutral names’ into google and went onto the first website I could find. I may even do a follow up post on how to choose a middle name if you want to. But please bear in mind that choosing a new name is truly personal to each person, so there’s no wrong way to choose a name – and if you want to change it at any point, that’s fine and valid!
Firstly, you should consider whether you want your new, real name to have any resemblance to your current name – so do you want it to start with the same letter? Do you want it to sound the same? I consider these questions to be important because it will obviously affect what type of name you can have, but if you experience little dysphoria surrounding your old name (which is perfectly ok and valid), then this would be a definite recommendation.
If you want a name that is completely unrelated to your deadname, thats perfectly ok as well – what I would recommend is that you search ‘gender neutral names’ on Google, and find a site that has gender neutral names. Then, simply scroll through the list of names provided then select the one that you like the most. This could help with possible social dysphoria regarding your old name, so by choosing a name that is completely derived from that name could help alleviate that dysphoria.