1. As a gay person, growing up in a small town can have its downsides.
2. It's tough.
3. For starters, your gayness seems to be the one defining thing about you.
The fact that I'm the only person named Selvin in this town and still have to get "the gay one?" in sequence— selvin (@selvin)1493851625.0
4. And it's even harder if there's something else that's "different" about you too.
I'm so in love with this picture. Also, reminder: disabled people are gay too. #Pride2017 https://t.co/wJukSty3YX— Elizabeth Jeannel🍍 (@Elizabeth Jeannel🍍)1497130668.0
Eternally relevant memo: LGBTQ people exist across all communities in every country on Earth (including small towns!).
5. You're constantly being asked "the question."
Church with my parents today. Small town, deep south. The term"Bachelor" will be used. "You ain't found a girl yet? #gay @LorenAOlsonMD— Just a kind of magic (@Just a kind of magic)1492955812.0
Not to mention its cousin: "You're still single?"
(*screams with rage into the abyss*)
6. If you're out and proud, you might be flaunting it like nobody's business...
@CupcakKe_rapper my gay ass needs merch to show my small ass town I mean business 😩— papillon🦋 (@papillon🦋)1497277534.0
7. ...until you remember that's not always safe, depending on where you are.
Image via tchaikovsgay/Tumblr.
"You know what’s great?" this Tumblr user captioned the photo above. "Putting some gay stickers on your car and promptly remembering Missouri hates gay people."
8. Spotting another gay couple out in the wild is always pretty exciting.
Cute gay couple in McDonald's. One white, one Asian. Little PDA. I ship it.— josh. (@josh.)1496460932.0
9. There's not a whole lot do to in town already — but there's even less to do than if you were straight.
wheres my small town gay friend group thatll go chill out and drink on top of a water tower and throw bottles at god with me— percal (@percal)1497145565.0
10. A lot of the time, it can feel like the world is against you.
Gay kid vs. small town in southern Missouri. #gay #lgbtq #missouri https://t.co/Rrlnvj5S9Q— Lane Hanger (@Lane Hanger)1486611926.0
11. Being gay in a small town is almost like being famous. Almost.
12. Big family events can become needlessly complicated.
Awkward is being the gay boyfriend in law at a small town funeral.— Semi Lovato (aka Matt) (@Semi Lovato (aka Matt))1491095640.0
13. But you'll work hard to find pride in yourself wherever you are.
I do the "sad lonely gay in a small town" thing well.— tankies log off (@tankies log off)1494516922.0
14. If you're out of the closet, your dating options can be ... limited at best.
Living in a small town and being gay is so hard like i have the choice of 3 girls like guess i'll just date myself ¯\_(ツ)_/¯— ☁️CJ☁️ (@☁️CJ☁️)1491680451.0
15. And meeting other people on dating apps is exponentially more challenging.
Being gay in a small town https://t.co/BwhZpFnTgx— Cas Loves Harry (@Cas Loves Harry)1495866214.0
16. Like, really challenging.
Image via mywickedway/Twitter.
*yells into megaphone* "Is anybody out there?"
17. Because the dating struggle is real when you're a small-town gay in need of some serious gas money.
"30 miles is a wide radius for Tinder." Something inconceivable to my small town gay ass who has to go 50 miles to reach almost anyone.— Kenneth Shepard (@Kenneth Shepard)1495041525.0
18. Even finding like-minded friends can be hard.
Today i explained the woe of finding gay friends in a small town, my mom said "why do you need gay friends, Why not just regular friends?"— leonardo dabinchi (@leonardo dabinchi)1494875483.0
19. You definitely know what it's like to crush on someone who doesn't return the feelings.
#MyFirstLoveWas was unspoken and unrequited. One of the downsides to growing up gay in a rural small town in the MidWest.— Robert (@Robert)1494641420.0
20. And you look for signs that you'll be accepted wherever you go.
Literally any sign will do.
I was worried about seeming too gay for this small town Oklahoma combination gas station/diner, but then I saw the… https://t.co/8lw21aZaFg— Emerson Collins (@Emerson Collins)1493247800.0
21. Like, even this poster for a scary movie about clowns is a fierce artistic inspiration to a small town gay.
When you're from a small town https://t.co/a5lMi4wReS— Gay Geek & Fabulous (@Gay Geek & Fabulous)1497292220.0
22. Sometimes it feels like those scary movie monsters are the only ones that get you, actually.
the blair witch is a forest lesbian and the babadooks a small town gay— Asscheeks clapping underneath the floorboards (@Asscheeks clapping underneath the floorboards)1492487997.0
Which, yes, is very sad. Do better, Hollywood.
23. Your neighbors likely disagree with your political viewpoints.
Going off the reception of my hat yesterday, my small southern town does NOT want to make America gay again— Annie 🏳️🌈 (@Annie 🏳️🌈)1491830561.0
24. If more of us felt supported in small towns, there would be no bounds to the good we could do politically.
if every gay couple moved to a small town, bought a fixer-upper, and opened a coffee shop, we could elect a hot young president again soon— dissociate manager (@dissociate manager)1494439105.0
25. Maybe the most difficult thing about being gay in a small town is the feeling that no one truly understands you.
26. But here's the thing: Sometimes your small town might surprise you in the best ways.
AT MY SCHOOL, A SMALL TOWN IN TEXAS, A GAY GUY AND A BI GIRL GOT VOTED AS PROM KING AND QUEEN. LIFE IS GOOD.— abby (@abby)1491258018.0
27. Even in small-town Middle America, there are places that will love and accept you.
.@SpencerPrideInc, "the world's largest small town gay pride," is coming up Saturday!! 🌈 Ladies of Spencer Pride Dr… https://t.co/7qIthpevgL— Bendovah Plenti (@Bendovah Plenti)1496054939.0
28. Being able to connect with pop culture outside your town definitely helps a lot, though.
Being a weird artsy gay kid in Small Town, Midwest, is hard (even before you realize you're gay). But David Bowie made it a little easier.— Jay Colbert 🦇 (@Jay Colbert 🦇)1452535297.0
29. And thank goodness for the rebellious teachers who give you the courage to be who you are.
@bryansafi Grateful! Born n 'Bama (small town) & knew who I was (gay). Gr8t teachers from k'garten-hi. Never a slam. Damn good teachers! ❤— Tony Morris (@Tony Morris)1489546906.0
30. Not to mention those life-changing art and drama classes where you found safety and comfort.
As a gay teenager surviving in a small town arts&humanities were my salvation . The art lovers need to fight as har… https://t.co/nDQsAItpnC— bth (@bth)1489666920.0
31. Because for all their flaws (and there are many), small towns don't always deserve their reputations.
How I came out, any negativity that I've dealt with and what it's like to live in a small town and be openly gay ☺️☺️ #loveislove— g. (@g.)1495119274.0
They can be pretty damn great.
32. Hopeful even.
Image via Tumblr user Mo-Mosa/Tumblr.
"You guys know what I just realized? Despite living in a Republican small town, I — a queer, Native-Afro-Latina — was voted Homecoming Queen in the fall and class president of my senior class. I was also one of the leads in my school's musical. Three years ago, I thought I'd never be accepted and that I'd never have friends. I was scared to speak up and scared of being seen. There is hope, y'all. Things get better."
— Tumblr user Mo-Mosa
🏳️🌈 Positive change can't come soon enough. 🏳️🌈
Fortunately, there are many organizations fighting the good fight with state and local chapters in your own backyard, should you want the support:
- PFLAG is a nonprofit committed to strengthening the bonds between LGBTQ people, their families, and allies in their communities. Its work is crucial in smaller cities and towns across America.
- The Trevor Project is an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention group helping kids who feel as though they have no one to turn to. They save lives in small towns.
- GLSEN is a national organization aiming to make schools across the country as LGBTQ-friendly and inclusive as possible. Because our small-town schools (and all of our schools, really) need improving.
- The Genders and Sexualities Alliance (formerly the Gay-Straight Alliance) brings LGBTQ students and their straight, cisgender peers together to build bridges and understanding.
This post was updated 12/14/2017.