Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

More Than an Identity, by teen contributor Elliot

Today TLT teen contributor Elliot is talking with us about identity. Since we work for and with teens, it’s important to listen to them, which is why we have invited Elliot to be a contributor here. We hope you will enjoy their posts.

Elliot


Self discovery is one of the most important and most difficult challenges that a teenager can face. You live your whole entire life thinking that you know who you are until the chemicals in your mind start to change and hormones and coursing through your body altering everything you thought you knew about yourself. Never have I struggled more with my identity than when I was searching for my sexuality and gender identity.


In seventh grade I met a wonderful person who I will refer to as “S.” S was avidly searching for their identity and was experimenting with all sorts of sexualities and gender identities that I had never heard of before. When they introduced me to all of these terms “genderfluid,” “pansexual,” “asexual,” and so many more, my brain was so overwhelmed, but I was so excited that I finally had terms that I could relate my experiences with. I was so proud to find my place in the LGBTQ+ community. . . until people started only seeing me as part of the community.


Being part of the LGBTQ+ community is really special- you meet people who have gone through similar struggles as you and you have a place where you know that your identity is real and valid. However, a person who is part of the LGBTQ+ community is often seen as nothing more than just a member of the LGBTQ+ community. While I believe that this community is extremely important and a large part of the lives of those in the community, I also believe that the world needs to realize that LGBTQ+ people are more than their identity,


Growing up, as I was discovering who I was I was, people often associated my name with “that gay person.” Although that was a fairly true label for me, hearing that I was just “that gay person” to a lot of people dulled my self image and self worth. My friends got to be known for their amazing basketball skills, their beautiful artwork, and their stunning performances in the school play. They weren’t known as “that straight person” and I didn’t understand why I was being limited to being labeled solely on my sexuality.


The fact that my entire identity was based around my connection to the LGBTQ+ community made me dread the fact that I wasn’t cisgender or straight. I severely wanted to sever myself from the community just to get a chance of proving to the world that I was capable of doing amazing things that I could be known for instead. It got to a point where I started telling people that I was straight and I was “just going through a phase.” I truly did just about anything to get people to see that I am more than just my identity.


The point I want to make with all of this is that although it’s great to be proud of who you are, you shouldn’t make your whole life about your identity and you shouldn’t let anyone else make your whole life about your identity. Finding out your identity is amazing, but becoming your identity can be exhausting, depressing, and unfulfilling. The world needs to realize that not all people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community are the same. We are just as three dimensional as a cishet person and we shouldn’t be looked at for just our sexuality and/or gender identity. We should be looked at as people- people who just so happen to not be cishet.

Comments

  1. That’s a really great point!

  2. amanda barberiz says:

    So insightful and such a good read! I cannot wait to hear more from Elliot!

  3. I love this! Amazing points

  4. I agree with all your points, very well said and interesting from a different perspective, especially. Love it!

Speak Your Mind

*