Hey, guys. As you know, I’m Sean from 5113, the Combustible Lemons. This year was the first year where I was 100% out to my team. The first (haha FIRST) person I officially came out to was the team’s Head Advisor and he was honestly pretty rad. I had come out to him as “Sean” the year before and he asked me what my pronouns where (I didn’t know at the time so I couldn’t give him an answer). The other Head Advisor was rad too. I was a little scared since he’s a little older, but he was so excited for me!
My teammates were all pretty good. When there was that rooming miscommunication, everyone was so kind and tried to help me feel better. Most of the guys saw me as another guy and the girls saw me as a guy. At first (FIRST) they asked questions that were a little personal, but after I talked with them, it was all cool. Whenever my legal name showed up anywhere, no one said anything mean and they would correct people if that person called me my legal name.
However, at competitions, I was often scared to use the bathroom. This wasn’t due to people being rude to me but it was just my own anxiety and paranoia. If I asked a teammate to go with me to the boy’s room, they would and it made me feel much safer to have a buddy to protect me.
This year, for the first time, we included sanitary products for the boy’s room and we had a lot of people thank us for it (yay!). Usually, our bathroom baskets were the same for guys and girls rooms except for the sanitary products, but after asking advice from the school nurse and my mentors, we decided that it would be okay and if anyone had any questions, they could just ask us.
I think I’m really lucky to have such a nice team. Next year, we plan on trying to incorporate some little things to help make the team more inclusive and we have the support of all our mentors which is nice. I don’t know if anyone on the team is out to anyone yet, but I hope that they come out at least to the team because it is one of the most accepting communities I’ve ever been a part of.
About LGBTQ+ of FIRST
LGBTQ+ of FIRST is an organization dedicated to raising awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ participants in FIRST Robotics. LGBTQ+ of FIRST was started to spread visibility of the LGBTQ+ community within FIRST and help teams become safe spaces for their members.