This is My Story

Kennedy Jones
The LGBTQ community is my family, to that effect I feel it becomes all the more with and I feel it’s increasingly important for us to act as one and care for each other. 

The LGBTQ community is my family, to that effect I feel it becomes all the more with and I feel it’s increasingly important for us to act as one and care for each other. 

One of the greatest strengths of the LGBTQ community has always been our vast diversity, and open embrace of each feather and each spangle, but the leadership within our community has far too often not reflected the depth of that diversity. We must make more intentional efforts to foster leadership within individuals who are marginalized across multiple axes of identity. We should be doing all that is in our power to uplift and amplify these voices and consistently show up in support of each other. As a community, especially those of us with greater access and privilege, we should be engaged in the perpetual work of examining our own level of privilege and working to break down these harmful systems of power. This is a task that is difficult and is something many of us who have the best intentions often fall short in. I am most certainly guilty of this and have undoubtedly prioritized my own comfort at the expense of someone with less access or opportunity. Confronting our self-interested complicity with oppression will always be difficult, but because it is difficult, it should not deter us from doing what we must.

Especially, for me, since growing up LGBTQ was not accepted by my family. My family viewed it as a sin and the wrong way of life. I never had any support from my family, though my sister seemed to be the only person to actually support my choice of identity. She, too, is a part of the LGBTQ community and believes it is imperative for us to stick together. And despite all of the things going on that are affecting the LGBTQ community,  she is optimistic that things will get better. Things have to get worse to get better. We must come together and be stronger than ever to fight against adversity. I am thankful for everything that I have experienced so far, the good and the bad. It has made me a stronger individual, and I want to continue making an impact on people’s lives.  Life is great, and we should not limit ourselves because of others' opinions.

Sometimes I worry that the pressure to assimilate our identities and experiences could lead to our erasure from the public sphere. Attacks on trans folks have increased in legislatures, on television, throughout social media platforms, and on the streets. This shows how real the threat still is and underscores how important it is that we stand together in solidarity. Our fight for equity must be intersectional and embrace everyone. There are many efforts to divide us and cleave off the most vulnerable and marginalized. This is where I come back to my view of the LGBTQ community as my family, I may not agree or at times even like my family members, but when the chips are down I will always be there for them. Likewise, we must do all that is in our power to challenge forces of oppression and marginalization both in ourselves and in the world. History has shown how strong and persistent methods of division can be and our strongest resource is our mutual care and concern for each other.

It may be a cliché at this point to say that love will win, but I believe this to be true. Love wins every time, and is our greatest weapon. We must remain centered on this love ethic because as bell hooks said, “Without love, our efforts to liberate ourselves and our world community from oppression and exploitation are doomed.” Love must inform all of our actions, and ground our understanding of our world. Love brings people together and reminds us of the importance of relationships and the value of collective efforts. This ethic of love must be unwavering, unconditional, and must never be abandoned. We should not ever allow ourselves to be drawn into debates about whether love might be withheld, or withdrawn, from some individuals. The choice is simple, regardless of what the future may hold we will stand united in love, love of self and love for each other.

Kennedy Jones [she/her] is a 17-year-old senior who lives in Birmingham, AL. She is in her third year of Peer Health Exchange's Youth Design Group and has greatly enjoyed exploring selfsea’s features along with its effectiveness for younger people. She loves to spend time with family and friends in her free time, and she also likes to paint and engage in community outreach as well.  

Looking for resources for LGBTQ+ young people? Check out the resources below and visit for articles and stories from young people who’ve been there. 

imi - guides built for and with LGBTQ+ teens to help you explore your identity and support your mental health 

It Gets Better Project - a nonprofit whose mission is to uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQ+ young people all around the world.  

The Trevor Project Resource Center - a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ+ young people