Being LGBT in a rural area
Growing up LGBT in a rural area isn't always easy. Here are some tips.
Growing up as an LGBT person isn’t always easy, and being LGBT in a small town or rural area can sometimes be even harder. Whilst some LGBT young people in rural areas might have an amazing coming out experience that goes really smoothly for them, there are some specific issues that LGBT young people living in rural areas might be more likely to face.
In small towns or rural areas, it is sometimes more difficult to meet other young LGBT people or access information, and this can make coming out more difficult.
So what can I do if I’m LGBT living in a small town?
Take your time with coming out
We know how hard and stressful it can be to hide your sexual orientation or gender identity, and the rough effects this can have on your mental health and wellbeing. But don’t feel under pressure to come out if you’re in a homophobic environment. Go at your own pace and take care of your wellbeing and safety.
Talk to people you trust
It can be really hurtful to deal with homophobia or transphobia, and it’s ok to feel upset by it. If it’s getting you down, talk to a parent, friend, or teacher that you trust. If you don’t feel able to talk to someone you know, you can call Gay Switchboard Ireland on 01 872 1055 or BeLonG To Youth Services on 01 670 6223.
The internet can be an amazing place to meet other LGBT young people, and the support you can get from people going through the same thing as you is invaluable. Furthermore, there are some brilliant resources online that can help educate you on LGBT issues, especially with regard to your sexual health.
Go to LGBT youth groups if you can
If you’re living in a really remote area, this might be easier said than done, but there are more and more support groups out there for LGBT young people in both rural and urban areas. BeLonGTo runs lots of youth groups for LGBT young people all over the country. This might be a bit intimidating at first, but be brave - it really can make an amazing difference to your life.
Look after your mental health
There are a lot of challenges you might face as an LGBT person, especially if you’re growing up in a conservative community. This can take a big toll on your mental health. Do little things that help make your day easier, and seek help if you’re struggling to cope.
Hang on in there
There most important thing is to remember if you’re living in an unaccepting community that for every person you meet who rejects you because of your sexuality or gender identity, there are many more people that will accept, love, and respect you just as you are.