By Alejandro Isabella

When I came out in 7th grade, I was the first person to come out in my school. People had heard of lesbians and queer people, but to actually interact with me was a learning experience for everyone. A lot of people were shocked — a lot of the boys would say things like, “I could fix you,” which is gross. But with girls in the school, there was no backlash. I had people come up to me, come out, and say I made them feel seen. Because I shared my story and was true to who I am, they felt comfortable being themselves. Which in itself was a life-changing experience.

Now I’m 17, and a junior in high school. A lot has changed in the last five years, but I’ve never stopped sharing who I am. I first came out as a lesbian because that label felt like it fit best at the time. In eighth grade, I identified as bisexual because I didn’t want to limit myself. As a word, it technically fit but never resonated. Pansexual was something I enjoyed, but when I started exploring my gender identity I discovered a beautiful world of new experiences. Now I identify as genderqueer. My journey has been fluid, and because of that, so am I. 
Society has normalized the idea that you find a label for yourself and you stay with it for the rest of your life. I’m living proof that’s not how you have to do it. You can go at whatever pace you want, whatever label you want, make up a new label just for yourself! Who’s gonna stop you? I have never considered any of my names to be “dead,” because when exploring my identity, I have never felt more alive.

And that’s a huge part of why I became one of the It Gets Better Project’s Youth Voices and why I encourage you to support our Better Everyday campaign. Seventh grade me felt confident enough to come out because I had a support system. I never felt alone, but I felt isolated. I remember thinking, “there are so many labels and so much to learn.” There was both too much and not enough of me to go around. It “getting better”, for me, was finding my community, my people, and who I am. I didn’t know when it would get better, but I knew it was coming. 

Now when I hear the words “It gets better,” I think about the people I’m going to impact. I don’t just think of it gets better being about me, I think of the queer community itself, of our world as a whole. It’s going to get better and I’m going to keep fighting for people to have the journey and experience we all deserve.

My story is just beginning, and it will continue to evolve and change. But through it all, I’m just going to keep being unapologetically me. That’s how you pay it forward to other kids who are still finding their confidence and exploring their journey.

You can help us make it better too. Make a donation and support the It Gets Better Project today!

– Alejandro Isabella (his/her) is a 17-year-old member of Youth Voices, Class of 2022 and is based in Texas.