You Have a Future
*Below is a copy of a workshop I led at Encircle’s Ignite LGBTQ+ Youth Summit. Feel free to use, change, adapt, or copy for any queer youth projects/presentations.
One of the things I love most about the queer community is that we are writing our own script. The script that was given to us didn’t work, so we are inventing something new. We are authors, explorers, and revolutionaries composing songs that have never been sung, creating art that’s never been seen, and writing stories that have never been read. We are overcoming fear with self-authorization—claiming our identities as moral and worthy. We are transforming ourselves into creators.
I couldn’t always say this, but I love being queer. I’m peculiar, unique, abnormal, biologically atypical, gender-weird, and just as worthy as the person standing next to me. I’m not afraid of my queerness anymore. Part of letting go of my fear was knowing I’m not alone. We’re in this together. While there are hard days filled with insecurities and rejection, there are also brilliant days filled with love and compassion beyond anything I previously imagined. Even with the hard days, trials, pain, and suffering, I’d still do it over again, if given the chance. It is in those formative moments that I learn how to love when loving isn’t easy. Being queer has taught me how to love divinely.
By no means am I perfect at loving during times of suffering, but when our queer mantra is “Love Wins” I take those words seriously. I believe in them. I believe love will win and triumph over ignorance, fear, anger, hate, and even death. Love has the power to transform trials into opportunities. Love has the power to turn an enemy into a friend. Love has the power to make a mere human a savior. Love winning also includes me loving myself as I am, and you loving yourself as you are. “Love Wins” isn’t something that happens without effort on our part. “Love Wins” means we learn to love bravely and fearlessly when loving is hard.
Each of you has the power to make “Love Win.” You aren’t in this alone, you have people here who love you and are ready to help you. You are writing your own story, right now. With each passing moment you are the creator of your future. You have already begun to claim your power as a worthy author to create a future of your own making. Your queerness is not a hindrance to the future. Your queerness is an asset, if you so choose. Your queerness puts you in a unique position to show the world what love looks like.
Today, I want to do an exercise with you. I want to create a future with you where “Love Wins.” I have a lot of ideas about what that might look like, but I am far more interested in hearing your dreams and visions of the future. I want you to show me what “Love Wins” looks like.
On a piece of paper or your phone, I want you to write or draw your thoughts about what your future, a future where “Love Wins,” looks like. This can include your family goals, school goals, career goals, or friendship goals. Your dreams can be as outrageous or practical as you like. You can cure cancer, write an epic book, start a company, raise a family, be an artist, or fly to Mars in a future where “Love Wins.” Let your imagination run wild—dive into a world of science-fiction if it pleases you. Tell me the story of a future where “Love Wins.”
You have a future, and you get to decide what it looks like.