Visit any U.S. state, and you’ll find that somewhere around two to five percent of its citizens belong to a community commonly known as LGBTQ: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer.

This probably means at least a handful of teens you know, even people you see and talk to every day belong to this population. You’re probably thinking, “how can I tell which of my friends are different?”.

Well, you probably can’t, and that’s no big deal. Here’s why:

LGBTQ People Are Really No Different From You

While some people are made uncomfortable by the presence of someone whose sexual orientation is different from theirs, this is probably just because they really don’t know what it’s like to feel any other way than the way they feel everyday.

See, having LGBTQ friends isn’t scary or uncomfortable, because there are so many upsides to having a diverse group of friends. Having some gay members of your friend circle is no different than including different ethnic backgrounds, people from different neighborhoods, and so on.

This is because people that are different than you can provide a glimpse of other points of view and new perspectives that can enrich you and change your thinking. Similarly, you’ll come to find that different people, whether gay, straight or other, having the similar interests to most other teens on the planet, and this common ground can spark a beautiful friendship.

The Power of Understanding

If one of your friends ever trusts you enough to admit that their sexual preferences is a bit non-traditional, you should feel honored that they came to you. Instead of pushing them away, you should take the opportunity to learn a new way of seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.

Friendship is support each other, even in rough times.

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