Article by Shannon Greenwood.
Last week’s Supreme Court hearings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 brought a huge spotlight to the LGBTQ community. With that spotlight came a wave of inclusivity by individuals far and wide, some of whom may not have ever dabbled in LGBTQ activism before. The overwhelming support I have seen brought on by the Supreme Court hearings just happened to coincide perfectly with the start of April, which is celebrated as Pride Month.
Pride Month is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a huge celebration of the LGBTQ community in all of its entirety. Here at MU, the LGBTQ Resource Center is putting together numerous events including Pride Prom, the Let’s Get Loud Drag Show and the Queer Monologues, to name a few.
In honor of the start of Pride Month and the incredible support recently seen due to the Supreme Court cases, I think it’s important to discuss the LGBTQ community as a whole and some of the issues seen by the individual groups who fall within it.
The start of this discussion begins with the notion that we, as humans, need categories. Our minds are constantly taking in information and to keep up with it all, we subconsciously sort things into groups called schemas. Schemas help us process information faster, which is great, except they can also lead to stereotyping and discrimination.
A major reason why the queer community faces discrimination is because the community is sometimes misunderstood. We, as a society, tend to distance ourselves from things we don’t understand — not necessarily because we are not inclusive, but because those differences are foreign and sometimes left unclear.
So, to break this chain of LGBTQ misinformation, I am going to try to define the “queer alphabet soup.” I say “try” because my definitions are in no way exhaustive or even necessary. I wholeheartedly believe defining who you are is done on an individual basis. Some people fit into these definitions, some do not. The thing is, you don’t need to perfectly align with any of these labels in order to be identifiable. My hope in defining these groups is to bring a sense of understanding of the LGBTQ community.
The five letters of LGBTQ stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. Lesbian is a term used for people who identify as women who are attracted to other women. Likewise, a gay man refers to anyone who identifies as a man and is attracted to other men.
Bisexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person can be attracted to both men and women. A common misconception about bisexuality is that it doesn’t even exist. It is sometimes assumed that someone who identifies as bisexual, but has a preference for the opposite sex, might simply be faking it. And if a bisexual has a preference for the same sex, then they’ve still got one foot inside the closet. Both of these are not true. Bisexuals have the ability to be sexually and emotionally attracted to both genders, but that doesn’t mean they’re attracted to everyone.
Transgender is not a sexual orientation, but rather a gender identity. People who are transgender feel they were born into the wrong gender’s body. The transgender community faces discrimination in an assortment of ways, including not being referred to by their preferred name and pronouns as well as being harassed because they don’t fit into societal norms associated with gender.
Queer is a term that encompasses the entirety of the LGBTQ community. Though it used to have a negative connotation, “queer” has been accepted back as a term to refer to anyone within the community.
On top of these five groups, there are several others that fit into the extended LGBTQ acronym including asexual, aromantic, pansexual and intersex. Asexuality is feeling little to no sexual attraction to people, while aromantic is the same thing but with feelings of intimacy. Pansexual, which is sometimes confused with bisexuality, is the attraction to people without regard to gender. The main difference to note is that “pan” means all while “bi” means two. Lastly, intersex refers to someone who was born with reproductive anatomy that doesn’t fit into distinctive classification of male or female.
Last but not least is an ally. An ally is someone who doesn’t necessarily identify as queer but is supportive of equal rights for all. Allies are included in the LGBTQ bubble and can be anyone from straight, cisgender marriage-equality activists to gay men promoting trans rights to trans women protesting discrimination against bisexuals. Anyone can be an ally; I think that’s an important thing to note as we begin our month-long celebration. Pride Month is about showing pride for all aspects of the queer community, and we do that by first and foremost being allies with ourselves and with each other.
@1 month ago with 8 notes
#queer #lesbian #gay #bisexual #trans* #asexual #pansexual #polysexual
Hey Tumblr, ‘sup. So I’m in charge of chairing tonight’s LMU GSA meeting, and the subject is erasure/discrimination within the queer community and within queer-friendly (supposedly) media. I have a little by way of media (videos and such) and I have some discussion questions for the group, but what I really want is this:
- Information on transphobia/trans* erasure within the queer community
- Ditto asexual erasure
I know it’s not anyone’s job to educate me, but I’d rather have accurate information… hence this plea. Anyone want to message me an article, video or link?
@1 year ago with 10 notes
#asexual #transgender #bisexual #gay #lesbian #straight #erasure #discrimination
Bisexual people often encounter unique myths and stereotypes that other members of the lesbian, gay, and transgender communities do not face. Today, on Celebrate Bisexuality Day, we delve into the truth behind harmful and inaccurate assumptions about bisexual people in order to raise more awareness and understanding.
MYTH: “Bisexuality is just a phase before someone comes out as gay or lesbian.”
FACT: It’s true that some people identify as bisexual before later identifying as something different, just as some people identify as straight before coming out as LGBT. Other people identify as gay or lesbian before coming out as bisexual. Bisexuality is unique because it recognizes the often fluid nature of romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction, but this does not make it any less legitimate than other sexual orientations. For the vast majority of people, it is not a phase, and anyone who identifies as bisexual deserves to have that identity respected.
MYTH: “All women are bisexual.” or “There are no bisexual men.”
FACT: Making an overwhelming generalization about the sexual orientation of an entire gender of people is irresponsible because it dismisses the individual experience and self-identity of each person in that category. For example, some women are exclusively attracted to men, some are mentally but not physically attracted to other women, and some are attracted to both women and men equally. Similarly, some men are exclusively attracted to women, some are mentally but not physically attracted to other men, and some are attracted to both equally. Declaring that a person’s sexual orientation does not exist makes that person invisible. Every person’s romantic inclinations and identifiers are unique and valuable, and they deserve respect.
(Remember that these two stereotypes go hand in hand as ways to enforce rigid and harmful gender norms. They are akin to notions such as “all women are nurturing” and “all men are masculine,” which serve only to harm those people who do not belong in those categories or do not have those traits.)
MYTH: “One cannot identify as bisexual unless they have been in a relationship with both a man and a woman.”
FACT: Many people know they are bisexual before they are ever in a relationship, just as many people know they are gay or straight at young ages. It is not necessary to have romantic experience with both genders or either gender before identifying as bisexual. Moreover, when a bisexual person gets married, their orientation does not change.
MYTH: “One cannot identify as bisexual unless they like both men and women equally.”
FACT: Some bisexual people are overwhelmingly attracted to men and occasionally attracted to women. Some bisexual people are overwhelmingly attracted to women and occasionally attracted to men. Some prefer to date genderqueer or gender non-conforming partners. The spectrum of bisexual people includes all kinds of individual preferences. The only thing that bisexual people have in common is that they are attracted to people of more than one gender.
MYTH: “Bisexuals must be in a relationship with both a man and a woman at the same time in order to be happy.” or “Bisexuals are promiscuous, polygamous, and/or immoral.”
FACT: Many bisexuals are in loving, committed, monogamous relationships with one person. Many bisexual people eventually get married. Bisexuals are not any more likely to engage in multiple relationships at one time than straight or gay people are. Bisexuals are not immoral, deceiving, or less safe than people of other orientations. Being bisexual has to do with who a person is attracted to, but has nothing to do with how they date or what kinds of relationships they prefer.
MYTH: “Bisexuals are transphobic.” or “The word ‘bisexual’ is transphobic.”
FACT: Bisexual people are not any more likely to oppress the transgender community than straight or gay people are. Many bisexual people are strong allies to transgender people, seeing commonalities between the fluidity of sexual orientation and the fluidity of gender. Many bisexual people are transgender, and many date transgender people. The word “bisexual” refers simply to people who are not monosexual: they are not attracted exclusively to members of the opposite sex, and they are not attracted exclusively to members of their same sex.
MYTH: “Bisexuals aren’t as oppressed as gay men and lesbians because they have heterosexual privilege/they are ‘half-straight.’”
FACT: Bisexuals struggle to be visible in both the straight and gay communities. Bisexuals often encounter both the discrimination that gay men and lesbians face in addition to discrimination rooted in biphobia. Bisexuals do not attempt to hide their identities under a guise of heterosexuality any more than gay men or lesbians might.
@1 year ago with 56 notes
#lgbt #bisexual #myths