These stories are so important
First Time I Saw Me is a movement/hashtag started from a series Netflix did with GLAAD that shared stories about the power of authentic media representations. It has since grown to be for anyone to share their experience of finally feeling represented in the media.
The first time I saw me was in the movie “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” I had never seen a half Asian protagonist who looked like me whom I could identify with on so many levels. It made me feel so seen, like my experiences and problems deserved to be seen by others, and that I was not alone. It was such an amazing feeling, which is why I created this project, in the hopes of everyone being able to see themselves represented and have that amazing feeling.
First Time I Saw Me Stories Submitted to this website!
Just as I was realizing I’m nonbinary, I came across a webcomic called Rain, about a trans girl navigating her senior year of high school. One of the characters in the comic, Ky, is genderfluid. I had never seen a nonbinary character before, and I was filled with so much joy that I stayed up until 3 AM catching up on the comic. Just as I finished, I heard my brother walking past my room. I ran out to the hall, burst open my door, and said “Jacob, I’m not a girl!” That was the first time I ever came out to someone in person, and I wouldn’t have done it if that comic hadn’t given me the confidence I needed in my identity to say those words. Representation is so powerful.
The first time I really felt seen was when I was watching the show One Day At A Time. Watching a young person figuring out her sexuality was something I really resonated with, and I was so used to only seeing lgbtq+ adults represented in media. There’s also a nonbinary character on the show, and seeing nonbinary representation for the first time was really amazing! Their identity is talked about in really important ways and it made me so happy to know that the inclusion of this character can help educate more people on what nonbinary may look like. Seeing someone like me made me feel really seen and validated.
The first time I ever encountered a dyspraxic person in any kind of media, over a decade after being diagnosed as a child, was the introduction of Ryan Sinclair in Doctor Who. He isn’t a walking special episode or an overgrown child. He’s a heroic companion who takes part in everything, no matter how dangerous and has personal plotlines completely unrelated to his diagnosis as well as realistic physical deficits that don’t conveniently go away when adventure-y things are happening.
The first time I ever saw another asexual was the book Ultraviolet by RJ Anderson, very soon after I finally realised that I’m ace. Seeing another teen grappling with her orientation while simultaneously being a flawed, deep unconventional heroine in an intriguing fantasy story was an incredibly special experience and helped hammer home that there was nothing wrong with me after years of confusion about my orientation.
The first time I ever saw an autism-related story that resonated with me at all was the film Mary and Max. it’s a darkly comedic and emotionally moving tale of the friendship between a lonely pre-teen girl, Mary and an autistic man, Max. Max isn’t a savant, in fact in a lot of ways he’s a mess. Despite his painfully realistic and often debilitating symptoms that stop him from living a conventional adult life he still manages to find happiness in his own unorthodox way and manages to be a surprisingly supportive figure to Mary. This all felt far more relevant to me and my struggles than all the other savant or parent-centric stories I’ve seen.