The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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LGBTQ Superhero
A winning essay from the Awards for Youth in Care
Tamya Golson

Many superheroes have a physical power. Then there are regular people who don’t have powers. But can a person who is regular have a power that isn’t exactly physical?

If so, does that make them a regular superhero?

Nowadays the world is filled with categories: black, Asian, tall, short, skinny, fat. I would say I fit right into the LGBTQ category. When I was growing up, others didn’t think that liking the same sex was bad, but they did think it just wasn’t “normal.”

But I had my own form of “normal” that I decided to keep to myself. Seeing men dressed up in feminine clothes or seeing females dressed in male clothes didn’t bother me. Sometimes I even liked dressing up as a tomboy myself. That didn’t make me a “boy.” It just made me a girl who likes dressing in boys’ clothes from time to time. At a young age I would often watch videos about a person who was afraid to come out but felt great when they did. But I didn’t know what to call myself. It was hard to come out if I wasn’t sure what I was coming out to be.

image by YC-Art Dept

When I turned 13 I wrote a letter to a girl in my class about how much I liked her. That letter got in the wrong hands, and another girl in my class read it out loud to everyone. It was embarrassing having the whole class look at me with disgust and confusion. I cried and felt worthless. For a few days after that I kept my head down and walked through the halls with so much guilt. My parents found out, and they weren’t too happy.

If it wasn’t for my grandmother, I’d probably still be in the closet. My grandmother was more than a best friend; she was a best grandma. She sat down and explained to me what every letter in LGBTQ meant, and I finally found out what I was: a lesbian. I was excited because I didn’t have many questions. I knew that I liked girls and wasn’t much fond of boys, so being a lesbian was a match.

After that conversation, I went back to the girl at school who had humiliated me. I said, “Look. I may be skinny and I may be weird, but I like girls. Now if you wanna pick on me, that’s fine. Just know I won’t go down without a fight because I love being a lesbian. Because being a lesbian is who I am.”

I didn’t think I would talk to her like that. I honestly thought I’d back down, but I’d made up my mind and I needed her to understand. Of course the class was shocked and giggled, but I was proud. I had stood up and really understood what I was standing up for. It also gave me the chance to educate myself and my friends. If I was giving advice to someone in a situation like mine, I’d tell them to speak up and never be afraid to express who you truly are.

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