In honor of Pride Month, here are some things that I needed to hear when I was in the closet.

I hope they help if you’re struggling, questioning, and/or unable to come out❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

It’s okay if you can’t come out right now. Whether it’s because it’s not safe for you to, you’re afraid, you aren’t sure of yourself, you’re not ready, or any other reason, it’s okay. I fully respect your decision and hope one day you’re able to live your truth. You’re still part of the community and you are so loved.

It’s okay to be confused. Everyone goes through a point of uncertainty with their identity because of cisheteronormativity. As you grow older and understand yourself and the world around you more, things will make more sense. Figuring yourself out is a journey that can be frustrating and take a long time. Go at your own pace!

It’s normal to be afraid. It can be incredibly terrifying to come to terms with being LGBT+. You’re not weak for feeling scared. It will get less scary over time. You will become more and more brave. There are people advocating for your safety.

It’s okay to try different labels or not use labels at all. If labeling your gender/orientation makes you feel more comfortable and confident in your identity, great! Use one! But if stressing over labels is holding you back, you don’t even need a label. You can just say you’re unsure or you prefer not to use labels. If it feels empowering to have a label, good. If it feels like you’re putting yourself in a box, it’s not worth it.

You’re part of an amazing community of people. The LGBT+ community has made so much progress and continues to fight everyday. We are so diverse and while we may not always agree on everything, there is a space for you in our community. You will find people with similar ideals who love you and cherish you and help you grow.

There is nothing wrong with your gender/sexual orientation. You are just as worthy of love, respect, and happiness as anyone outside of the community. Your LGBT+ identity is not a flaw and should not be treated as such.

It gets better. I know that sounds cheesy but it’s a popularized saying for a reason. There are so many people you haven’t even met yet and you will find people who love you for who you are. I know it can feel so hopeless, but I swear to you there is hope. You won’t feel this way forever.

You are never, ever alone. If you need someone to talk to, there are thousands of people on social media who care and want to help (myself included!)

If anyone has hurt you or told you you’re wrong for being you, you didn’t deserve that. People who are homophobic, transphobic, lesbophobic, biphobic, etc. are ignorant, cruel, wrong, and riddled with pent up negativity that they unfairly took out on you. That’s their fault. It was never your fault and never will be.

Internet friends are real friends. If the only people you know who support you or know about this part of you are people you met online, that’s okay. I’m proud of you for making connections and reaching out to find people who can help.

You are so strong and this is making you stronger. You’re self-aware and capable of making connections and being confident and standing up for yourself.

You’re going to be okay. Keep your head up and stay strong. I love you.