“My family doesn’t accept me for who I am. I love them, but I feel like I can’t really be myself around them. I have to constantly hide or downplay who I am to avoid being rejected or disappointing them. I worry that maybe I’ll always feel like an outsider, and I’m not sure how to find a community where I belong.”
It’s also a difficult decision not to share your true self with your family. Many of us know this can be its own source of pain, anxiety, and resentment as we mask our identities out of fear or knowledge that our family’s acceptance or tolerance is conditional.
You belong in community with supportive people who fully accept you and care for you. Finding that community is a journey for many of us, and you’re on your way.
We can be empowered to make decisions that prioritize our self-worth and well-being. Your feelings are completely valid if you choose not to spend time where you’re unable to be your full self or bring your partner(s). You may also decide it’s worth it – maybe to stay connected to some family members who are supportive, or to be a positive presence in the lives of kids in the family. If you choose to spend time with people who aren’t accepting of you, be prepared for how you’ll handle potentially stressful or unpleasant interactions. Don’t hesitate to take a moment outside to breathe and shake it out. If it’s helpful, decide on a time limit for your visit. There’s no minimum requirement of your time and energy. Let a close friend or two know about your visit and ask for support. Try to plan time afterward doing something you enjoy.
Community care is all about taking care of each other. It’s about recognizing that our individual well-being is linked to the well-being of others, and of the whole community. It’s about looking out for our loved ones and neighbors, and making sure everyone is doing okay. Community care has existed in BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities for generations. It focuses on connections, intentional actions, and efforts to mobilize people to support each other.
Community care can include:
You can practice community care by looking for ways you can help others, and by asking for and being open to receiving help. When we take care of each other, we create a stronger, more supportive community. When we’re part of a supportive community, we become more connected and more resilient.
Find an LGBTQ Community Center near you through CenterLink, an international nonprofit organization and member-based association of LGBTQ centers and other LGBTQ organizations serving their local and regional communities.
24/7 crisis support, information, resources, and connection for LGBTQ young people.
Radical community care via a confidential 24/7 hotline available in the U.S. and Canada run by and for transgender people.
All ages free and confidential phone, chat, or email peer support and resources, Mon-Sat.
Support, information, and resources for LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies.
LGBTQ+ youth and family resources to decrease mental health risks and promote well‐being, including a searchable U.S. resource map.
Database of the largest online collection of LGBTQ resources, including community centers, social and support resources, youth groups, and more, searchable by ZIP code and category.
Links to LGBTQ+ resources around coming out, family acceptance, mental health, medical and sexual health, substance use and addiction, legal needs, homelessness, faith communities, and survivor stories.