This February, It’s LGBT History Month, where we raise awareness and celebrate the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ people in our communities. We strive to promote diversity and inclusion throughout Aberlour, including supporting our young people to embrace who they are and achieve their full potential.
Luna has been supported by Aberlour’s Glasgow Family Service since she was fourteen. Here’s her story. In her own words, she shares her journey in discovering her gender identity and how Aberlour supported her to become more confident with her true self.
“From age fourteen, I never felt like I fitted in with my classmates. I had no shared interests with the boys, and I didn’t feel comfortable with the girls as I felt conflicted with my gender identity. An outcome of ‘not fitting in’ was I was subjected to bullying as I was ‘quiet’ and ‘different’. I had an overwhelming feeling that I was different and couldn’t quite understand why.
Unfortunately, my school had no resources around gender identity, and the topic was not spoken about in broader society. My housing scheme was not very LGBT friendly. My experiences of another transgender person, who was older and was ridiculed, making my conflict harder to accept. Through no fault of their own my family didn’t understand the issue, which made me bottle up my feelings and conform to a male’s ‘normal’ roles.
Upon leaving school, I enrolled in college. Initially, my expectations were that I could be more true to my real gender identity. Unfortunately, this was not to be as I was immediately singled out by lecturers saying, “not many boys do this course”. This made me feel reserved and nervous about being true to myself. I only managed one year in college, and the lecturers clashed with me, so I felt unsupported and didn’t want to continue my course. I lost someone very close to me when I was eighteen, which only made me more insular and reserved, which lasted until I was twenty-one.
With the support of friends and Aberlour staff, I felt comfortable coming out and finally being myself. Aberlour has supported me with ongoing emotional support, securing funds to buy me clothes and makeup to suit my gender identity. They have pointed me in the direction of support for LGBT people. Aberlour staff have always been on hand to offer advice and give me the confidence to be me. My attitude to life, my demeanour and even the way I talk to people are more positive thanks to their support.
If I was asked to give advice to a younger person who is going through what I have, then I would say look for local support groups, like Aberlour. There is an abundance of resources online for the LGBT community. Surround yourself with a friend group that you can rely on and will not judge you for who you are. I would stress to anyone that they should be true to themselves and not fight who they are but embrace it.”
Aberlour Family Support Service – Glasgow