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A Letter to LGBTQ Youth on Inauguration Day

Hi, I’m Raymond Braun and I wanted to share a message with any LGBTQ+ youth who are feeling upset today. Today is a challenging and difficult day for so many of us. You may be confronting a mixture of emotions and feelings you’re not quite sure how to process. That’s normal.

First, please take care of yourself, today and every day. Learn what “self care” means to you. Identity activities and people who make you happy, and try to spend as much time as possible doing things that bring you fulfillment and joy. Remember that it’s OK to turn off the TV, log off social media, and disengage from the news when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

As we enter a new era in politics, I want to make sure you know that you belong, your identity is valid, and your feelings, thoughts, and ideas are worthwhile. You might see scary headlines about anti-LGBTQ politicians or policy proposals, you might encounter nasty comments on social media, and you might experience bullying and discrimination that you certainly don’t deserve. Please don’t let these awful things diminish your shine and spirit. As MLK said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” In the wake of the election, there’s been such an outpouring of love, support, passion, and action from our community. There is so much good out there, and we will continue advocating for your right to be exactly who you are. You deserve that, and so much more, and we have your back.

You are part of one of the most diverse, creative, compassionate, resilient communities in the world. Think about the history of the LGBTQ community. We have overcome many obstacles and setbacks throughout history, and we’ve always emerged stronger and more unified than ever before.

I might not know you personally, but I am rooting for you. Our community needs you to nurture your talent, develop your skills, and identify your passions. Please find the hope inside yourself to continue growing into the amazing human being that you are. As you’re encountering all of life’s challenges, know that you’re not alone, and that there are resources for you and people who care deeply about you. Of course, the Trevor Project is available to talk 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, and you can reach out through their digital services like TrevorChat and TrevorSpace as well. Reach out if you’re ever feeling distressed or need a listening ear – whether it’s a phone call or text to Trevor, a coffee chat with a trusted loved one, or a visit to one of your local community resource centers.

You are valuable, powerful, and deserving of every opportunity in the world. I’m sending you a big hug, and when I march in the #WomensMarch tomorrow, I’m doing it for you.