Interested in sharing your story as an LGBTQ+ member of the FIRST community? Have unique insight on what’s going on and how we can make the community a better place? The admins of LGBTQ+ of FIRST want to hear your experiences! We want to reach out in the FIRST community to get insight from LGBTQ+ students, mentors, and volunteers alike. Our hopes are that sharing these stories help people feel more welcome in the FIRST community, as well as help improve awareness in the community. Reaching out to others doesn’t just help create a sense of belonging within FIRST, but gives us a fresh perspective on issues other individuals face as well.
There are two ways you can apply for an interview with us:
An admin will get in contact with you shortly after you apply. If you have any additional questions or concerns, you can always email us at email@example.com
We look forward to hearing your responses!
-Kira K. 568
Anon – LGBTQ+ Representation
almost my whole team is lgbtq+, why?
3.8% of American adults currently identify as LGBTQ+, and your team just happens to be a statistical anomaly – congrats! In reality, being LGBTQ+ is just a part of who the people on your team are. There’s no why to it, unless we want to get into the nature of humanity and the universe itself. Thanks!
– Kiran L. 2826
Anon – Texas Bathroom Bill
I was wondering if LGBTQ+ FIRST has given any thought to Texas passing a bathroom bill, and how that would impact trans FIRST students, especially with South Champs being hosted in Houston, Texas. Is this something that should be protested?
Hey sorry for letting this ask sit for so long, but we had to think and work on this since it’s such a complicated issue. We are contacting FIRST about the issue and asking for support. Although these types of laws affect a lot of people, businesses and organizations can choose whether or not it applies to them. FIRST, in its nondiscrimination policy, directly references gender identity and sexual orientation so we anticipate support.
Anon – Support and Thanks
OMG I honestly felt like I was the only asexual in first thank you so much for sharing your story Ive been coming out to my team over time and its been really hard since they all kind of just brush it off as a joke. Ive been making jokes and references to it too because im too awkward to try to explain it to them. Its been a kind of difficult time and I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate this blog and that post. Thank you.
Aw, I’m sorry to hear about your team situation, but thank you for the support! It means a lot.
Hey! My name is Sara and I’ve been an admin here for a few months and I’m a senior as part of FIM. On my team I’m in charge of business and media department, I also work on my team’s website. I have been with FIRST for 4 years, but I competed with Vex in middle school. I am asexual but pretty into girls romantically. In my free time I like to play/listen to music (Alt-J is great) and do art. I’m a photographer and digital artist so if you have art questions feel free to ask!
Now, you might be thinking how one might accidentally come out to half their team. Well, let me give you a bit of a backstory. I belong to a team that has a pretty decent split between liberals and conservative (and that has my dad as a mentor) so for the most part I am (or was) in the closet. This was working great up until this year, I laid low and didn’t talk to anyone on my team about my sexuality.
This year, a few kids on my team decided it would be fun to start shipping people. Everyone that was involved knew about it and was totally fine with it. It was going good until they started talking about shipping me with another person in the business group. For a while it was fine and we joked about it and blew it off.
This went on for a while, then all of a sudden the mentors got a hold of this information. They didn’t really care, until my dad found out. My dad got really mad at this and so I figured I needed to do something. I text the person who I was being shipped with and the group of people that were doing the shipping explaining to them how I got in trouble and how I’m asexual and that the ship I’m in needs to be killed. Well, they understood, but it meant that I just came out as something that a lot of people don’t understand. In the end this never got back to my dad (and still hasn’t), but I had to come out to half my team.
With all this happening a month ago, things tend to still be a bit awkward when they think of a good person to ship me with, then remember what could happen and why it wouldn’t make sense to ship me with said person. I don’t regret doing what I did, although sometimes I wish I had did it at a better time and was able to fully explain everything.
LGBTQ+ of FIRST Memes
Here are some healthy memes for sustenance during the long competition season!
Kiran L. 2826
Indiana – St. Joseph Event
At the Indiana St. Joseph Event! Gus from 3940, Cotter from 2197, and Aryn from 4982! Come find us and say hi!
I attend a private Christian school in a fairly conservative part of the Midwest, but I decided at the beginning of the school year that I was tired of being closeted. I came out at school as transgender, and teachers and classmates began using preferred name and pronouns. I didn’t come in with a list of demands, but instead respected the boundaries and reservations of those around me in hopes that they would respect me in return. Early in the year, I got to choose the name for my diploma, graduation, and the yearbook. Or so I thought. In late January, my principal informed me that there are had been parent complaints and the school board was reevaluating my situation and the potential harm to my school. Understandably upset, I wrote a letter to the school board explaining my situation. I talked about how I had no desire to be a pioneer, but merely wanted to live authentically in my final year of high school. I stated my goals for transition, which are “to remain calm in the face of opposition and ignorance, educate people on transgender issues to hopefully prevent discrimination based on lack of knowledge, and when people come after me for who I am, to stand up with pride.” I discussed how the response I’d received had been positive as my teachers, peers and mentors have accepted me and respect my journey to self acceptance. I also expressed my hurt at their concerns about the potential harms to my school and asked them to reconsider their decision, as I wished to finish off the last few months of my senior year as smoothly as possible.
The school board met with my parents who shared my letter, but the results were less than I’d hoped for. The yearbook will read how I want it to, but all graduation related information will be under my birth name. It is completely legal for my school to do this because it’s a private institution, but it’s still disheartening and frustrating. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been questioning whether I really have a place in the school that I’ve attended for the last fifteen years. I’ve been reflecting, and the most influential lesson I’ve taken away from the last six weeks is that the negative reactions do not take away from the positive ones.
I had low expectations when coming out, fully believing that my teachers or peers would push back against me. Much to my surprise, however, it went smoothly. The people in my life who really matter have embraced me. I have been struggling to accept that I have any place in my school, but I was too distracted by the conservative drama to realize that the positivity of my peers was proof that I belonged. This isn’t exclusive to me; I’ve known many people to become completely bogged down in the negative and forget all the good. This does nothing but hurt everyone involved. My friends, family and teachers have stood beside me and offered their support, so while this may be a low point in the early stages of my transition, it does not define my relationship with my school.
It’s hard to be different. There will always be people who fight back against your existence or life choices, and it will hurt. However, their uneducated opinion shouldn’t be what defines interaction with an entire community of people.
About LGBTQ+ of FIRST
LGBTQ+ of FIRST is a student run organization that advocates awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ students, mentors, and volunteers of FIRST Robotics. LGBTQ+ of FIRST reaches out to over 1000 members across the FIRST regions and fronts multiple outreach endeavors.