Affirmation has an enormous impact — in fact, one accepting adult can decrease an LGBTQ young person’s risk of suicide by up to 40%. For this year’s Every Single One campaign, we’re helping LGBTQ young people tell stories of those who have changed their lives for the better. By telling these stories, we hope to encourage others to do the same. We asked five LGBTQ young people to write a letter to someone who has supported them on their journey and captured those letters in this video. Here’s what they said:
Thank you for understanding me when no one else would. Thank you for being there for me when no one else was. When I was in elementary school, I asked you what you would do if you had a queer child and you flat-out told me you’d never support them. Thank you for proving yourself wrong despite all the hardships our family faced.
When I told you the truth of who I am, you never left my side. You made sure I had halal food in my foster care placements. You made sure I had a prayer mat and a Quran. You taught me how to wrap my hijab and pray. You did everything in your power to make sure I stayed connected to Islam, even if that meant a woman.
I knew how hard that was for you, but you knew how gut-wrenching the alternative would be for me. You sacrificed your perfect idea of what you wanted me to be to embrace my reality. You lost friends and family in your efforts to support me. But that didn’t sway you away.
You taught me I was worthy of being loved. You taught me my life is worth living. Mama, you are my rock. You are my jaan. I love you.
Words cannot describe how grateful I am for you. We have been through so much together, which has made our bond even stronger. When I came out to you, you all welcomed me with open arms without thinking twice. When it came to calling me by my new name and everything that came with it, you all adapted right away. You said “as long as you’re healthy and happy, nothing else matters.” Those words will always be in my heart. And for that, I am and will always be so grateful to have you as my siblings.
Love you always.
We never really started on the right foot with all of this. You didn’t understand at the beginning, and I’m sure it was confusing and scary. It was even more so for me. I don’t think I really had anyone support me at the time. I got a lot of backhanded comments and I’ll never forget the day you said to me, “please don’t tell me you’re trans.” It sticks with me, yes, because it hurt me, but also as a reminder of how far you’ve come.
You cried when I told you who I was, but you tried. You tried to get my pronouns right, even if you didn’t fully understand. Even though you still have questions and make mistakes, you’ve grown so much and I know I have your full support now more than ever.
You’re trying your best and I’ll try and explain my identity as much as you need. I know you love me no matter what. Thank you for being my best friend, no matter my name.
I don’t even know where to begin, but thank you for every little thing you’ve done for me. And I can’t believe it’s only been six months since we met in Switzerland. But you’ve quite literally changed my entire life. From the moment we met, you made me feel affirmed in who I am, regardless if anyone else felt different — whether it was laughing out loud, out of pocket jokes, or taking funny pictures in front of a historical landmarks — you never failed to make me smile, laugh and cry with laughter, which makes me feel good.
You’re the older sister I never had. And you always make me feel safe when I’m around. Despite all the chaos that ensues from being a lawyer, you never fail to support me in my identity when no one else has given me a chance to. You have given me all the love and confidence I need to be unapologetically myself, and I will never be able to repay you enough for that.
I thank you and love you so much. Mia. Forever and always.
I’m writing this note to you because I feel that you’ve supported me the most in my life. I’ve always felt that I can be myself and grow into whatever person I want to. And you would still support me. I just wanted to say thank you for allowing me to always feel valid in my own self and all the decisions that I make.
As I get older, I recognize how much of a privilege it is to have a mom that is supportive of my queerness, artistry, and personal ambitions. Even though sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, I’m extremely grateful for all the good that you’ve brought into my life. I feel that because you are so accepting, I’ve been able to grow exponentially and I will continue to grow into the best possible person I can be. Thank you.