Being LGBTQ+ brings with it a wonderful sense of community. People can find support groups of all kinds amongst fellow queer people. I’ve benefited from these various groups myself whether they be professional, friendships, or something more intimate. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of other LGBTQ+ and the best part of our community is it keeps on giving.
With the support of the queer people around me I began supporting others. I was trusted with a leadership role in my local LGBTQ+ center and I wanted to give people the same warm welcome that I was given. I was nervous and hesitant at first, but I quickly learned that the newcomers were just average people looking for support. I was reminded of myself and I knew that a warm smile and a friendly hello would break the ice. I just wanted them to feel comfortable meeting others. Soon I found myself in the same shoes my supportive “mentor” friends were with me. I was asked for advice, participated with them in events, and became a shoulder to cry on. I love being there for my friends and spending time with them are some of my best memories.
While there are supportive people in every community, I see it the most in queer spaces. Everyone is so interconnected that, once you’ve found your way in you often have friends for life. I came to my alma mater intending to shut myself away until I got my degree but instead I found a new path in life. I have friends that are there for me no matter what happens. I can also look back and say I was there as I watched friends turn into the wonderful people they are today.
Now I’m watching them from afar as they help others. It’s a fantastic feeling to watch the companions I’ve helped, support others. A number of my friends were nervous and shy when I met them and now they are confident and self assured people. I know I’m not alone in this experience, the queer community is a gift that keeps on giving.