People are sharing when they realised they are LGBTQ+ to make a very powerful point
LGBTQ+ people are challenging stereotypes by sharing their stories (iSTOCK)

"When did you realise you were LGBTQ+?"

It’s a simple question that LGBTQ+ people are often asked. And now the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ charity is collecting these powerful stories on social media.

It all started when organisation “Exist Loudly” tweeted a call out for Black and mixed race LGBTQ+ youth from the UK aged 12 to 23 to take part in paid research.

Some people, who we won't name, reacted badly to this tweet. Apparently, it seems, in the year 2020 it's still controversial to suggest that 12-year-olds can know that they are LGBTQ+.

In response, LGBT organisation Stonewall began encouraging LGBTQ+ people to use the hashtag #IFirstKnewIWasLGBTQ and share their stories about when they first realised their gender and/or sexuality.

And within a matter of hours, the hashtag was trending in the UK.

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A whole host of LGBTQ+ people shared their beautiful and sometimes heart-breaking stories:

In a statement, Stonewall’s Robbie de Santos, Head of Communications and Campaigns, told indy100:

We started the #IFirstKnewIWasLGBTQ hashtag because we wanted to remind the world that LGBTQ children and young people exist at all ages. Not only that, but we wanted people to share their personal stories, so we could show that there isn’t just one way or a ‘right’ way to figuring out who you are.

What matters is that young people questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity are given the support and information they need, and know that there is nothing wrong with being LGBTQ.

But we know two in five LGBT pupils (40 per cent) are never taught anything about LGBT issues in school, and nearly half of LGBT pupils (45 per cent) are bullied for being themselves. This needs to change and Stonewall won’t stop fighting until every lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are accepted for who they are – no exceptions.

It's important to listen and learn from each other's experiences. Some people realise that they are LGBTQ+ later in life, and others know from an early age. All journeys are valid.

It's just a shame that, in 2020, people seem to still need to be taught the basics.

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