JOSH

"I am most definitively a work in progress. The more I learn from other LGBTQ+ people the more I understand that my experiences are uniquely my own yet sadly have many commonalities with others.

Growing up having slurs yelled at you on a daily basis, chairs and glass bottles thrown, being shoved into lockers and even literally being spat on doesn't foster much confidence about your future. All that bred was fear; fear of what my life would be like, fear about ever coming out and fear of rejection for just being myself. When the world shouts so loudly that you do not belong it makes it hard to hear your supporters. Whilst I am so fortunate to have a family that does support me this made me no less scared to come out and I still carry residuals of that fear everyday. I am constantly anxious entering new situations and having to expose myself all over again.

Despite all of this I have never let go of hope and have held on to an unwavering sense that things will be okay. I make no secret of the fact that I am still searching for my people. When I first found the LGBTQ+ community, I felt home, but I am still trying to find the tribe that I belong to. The older I get though the less attached I am to fitting in and the more I endeavour to be transparent from the outset. I am becoming content with my differences and realising they are actually my strengths.

All I could ever want for anyone else is to know that, regardless of what some may say, they are worthwhile, their story is worth hearing and that they matter to me."

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