A first kiss with a romantic partner is a important rite of passage for anyone, but the significance is even greater for LGBTQ people who are coming to terms with their sexuality or gender identity.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, GLAAD asked three of its campus ambassadors to recall their milestone smooches. In the video above, they describe experiences ranging from “very liberating” to “hilarious.”
Rosemary Mulvey of New York’s Ithaca College says in the clip that her first kiss with another woman took place at a party.
“There was more to my identity than being bisexual or straight. I was actually a queer woman,” she says. “It was a pretty big wake-up call for me, because I realized that I really wasn’t happy in a relationship with a man.”
The University of Washington’s Andre Menchavez felt similarly.
“Being gay, for me, was always something that was seen as a question or a phase,” he says in the video. “But that first kiss really solidified that I was gay, and it made me comfortable with that label.”
The average age for a first kiss among LGBTQ people is 17 years old, roughly two years later than heterosexual people, GLAAD points out. In other cases, young queer people may have been kissed someone before but find their first LGBTQ kiss to be a more important moment.
“When their first LGBTQ kiss happens, it’s validation of all the time that went into feeling secure in their identity,” GLAAD officials wrote in a blog post.
The video, released Wednesday, is part a new digital series called “amp” that is aimed at elevating LGBTQ youth voices.