The glorious Pride Month is here in all its verve and colours, the flags of multifarious identities hoisted high. Slowly, but surely, the LGBTQ+ community is acquiring recognition and respect from the typically heteronormative societies of the world.
Though frowned upon and harassed in countless cases, queer rights movements have gained massive traction across the globe, blooming in vibrant colours of sexualities and genders in the forms of parades, protests, discourse, symposiums, and whatnot.
Non-heterosexual people aren’t all caged anymore. They aren’t all stuffed into closets full of cobwebs of orthodox ideals anymore. They have a voice now, a place in the world, and they have established their platforms everywhere.
It shouldn’t have taken the world this much time to accept the queer community. They shouldn’t have been oppressed and castigated. But they were, for the longest time, and now that they have grown into a united community fighting for acceptance and identity, you will step aside and acknowledge who they truly are; or you will lend a hand and join their cause, for they are human just like you and resilient enough to oppose antique conformist norms.
Even as the queer community grows every day and their affairs are being addressed now, a lot of myth and stigma still cast a dark shadow over the whole of the LGBTQ+ community. A majority of people aren’t clear about the history of the gay rights movements, what all the associated terms mean, and what their sexuality attracts them to.
While many people may not be able to relate, they have to understand, or at least try to understand and learn. Changing conservative beliefs in light of new information is more than reasonable.
This Pride Month, TDA debunks some of the most common myths concerning the queer community and presents the facts.
Before the Stonewall Riots, there were the Mattachine Society (1950) and the Daughters of Bilitis (1955). The international movement dates back to 1897 in Berlin, with the founding of Magnus Hirschfeld’s organisation, which was the first gay rights group.
Nevertheless, the historical Stonewall Riots were indeed remarkable because they paved the way for the Gay Liberation Front, which is the foundation of where the queer community stands today.
It used to be common to represent gay men in media as overtly flamboyant, talking and walking in highly caricaturised ways, and lesbians as simply “manlier” women.
However, a person’s sexual orientation entirely depends on who or what they feel sexual attraction for, and it has nothing to do with their personality or behaviour. A man can wear makeup, wear high heels, and don the colour pink without being gay.
Rather, tagging them as gay, as if homosexuality is something wrong, is homophobic, and as if one thinks traditionally feminine interests are wrong, it is also sexist.
Bisexuality only infers that a person is attracted to more than one sex. It doesn’t mean they are more sexually active because they can easily find partners. It doesn’t mean that they are carriers of STDs, since practising safe sex can prevent that for them as easily as it can for other hetero or homosexual couples.
If a person’s sex drive is more or less than average, it has nothing to do with their bisexuality, but rather their libido. Bisexuality also doesn’t imply that a person can’t be monogamous. They can have a safe, satisfying relationship with one partner, just like anyone else.
Trans is the opposite of cis, which is someone who identifies with their gender of birth. Transgender people are those who identify with a gender that is not what they were assigned at birth.
On the other hand, intersex people are born with combinations of reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit typical binary definitions. They often possess external and internal qualities of both sexes at once.
Gender and sexuality can be extremely fluid and fall anywhere on the spectrum. So even if children grow up watching queer characters and think it is something they want to experience, experimenting with one’s own sexuality has always been prevalent and should be encouraged.
For several people, it takes time to figure out what they want to label themselves, or if they want to label themselves in the first place. Rather, early representation shows kids that being heterosexual or cisgender isn’t the norm or the default, and that they are welcome no matter what their sexuality or gender is.
Bisexuals can be in long-term, straight-passing relationships without having experienced same-sex relationships. Bisexuality is simply an attraction towards more than one sex. Assuming that someone is either hetero or homo and there’s no in-between is entirely inaccurate.
Asexual people are those who don’t feel sexual attraction for anyone or anything at all. However, they still can feel romantic attraction for a person and can be in love with their partner.
Though they do not feel sexual attraction, they can have a sex drive. It is generally an undirected sex drive and more of a bodily reaction. They can resort to autoerotism, like masturbation, as well.
That is the norm, but it is not correct, because there are those who don’t correspond to any one gender (agender, non-binary), or correspond to both genders at once (bigender), or correspond to a different gender (transgender).
People should be referred to by the pronouns they prefer. Such as, non-binary and transgender people may prefer “they/them”, or entirely new ones such as “ze/zir”.
It might come as a surprise to you, but there are, as of yet, more than sixty genders in total. In fact, Facebook users have 58 gender options to choose from.
It is important to educate oneself on diverse genders to build an inclusive and harmonious life and workplace.
Same sex couples have no obligation to adhere to heteronormative ideals or cis-centric gender roles.
It is also sexist to term the partner who is dominant and manages financial or other responsibilities as the “man”, and the submissive demure, one as the “woman”.
The writer, a cynic, is a part of the TDA Editorial Team.