The question of LGBTQ [Part 1]
LGBTQ is a recurring abbreviation in modern culture that stands for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer community. In recent times, there has been a rise of organized movements regarding this community and we see a greater level of freedom achieved by its members.
Marriage between two people of the same gender was disallowed before 2001 (The Netherlands being the first country to overturn this law).
Naturally, the appealing idea of an unsuppressed LGBTQ world was gradually introduced into film and we see more directors who are willing to introduce the concept of LGBTQ to the mass public.
Traditionally, there has been many misconceptions that arise when it comes down to the LGBTQ. In this three-part series, we shall explore the LGBTQ scenes around the world, their history and dispel some of the most undeserving mistruths attributed to them.
There is a common and rather insensitive question among the heterosexual community, which goes something like this: ‘’Why do they behave this way?’’
Well, it may seem rather rude and think about it, nobody really stops to question why heterosexuals act the way they do, mostly because they are considered ‘’mainstream’’ and makes sense on an evolutionary perspective since life forms need to procreate or face extinction.
So, then why would alternate sexual orientations exist? There might be some light shed on two dimensions: namely: science and environment.
Although the initial part of the topic may seem a tad dry, bear with me, it will give us a better understanding and clearer picture of how the LGBTQ community really is. And how misunderstandings continue to form.
Science as evidence
Through science, we learn that males and females are biologically different, the first contains the XY chromosome while the latter has the XX variant. However, what happens when chromosomes are tweaked beyond their usual versions?
Scientists believe they have the answer and how this discovery could be linked to homosexuality.
As the years progressed, there have been multiple studies conducted through male-targeted projects ( as scientists have the rigid perception that women are sexually fluid compared to male counterparts and hence, require less research work) that have identified a ‘’homosexual-determining’’ region in the X chromosome and suspecting chromosome 8 as the indicator of non-heterosexual behavior as a research between gay and heterosexual brothers.
These were all good, useful points to note however, it was not until recently (2017) that scientists were able to locate the exact two genes that were potentially linked to homosexuality.
Through the profiling of DNA sequences involving both gay and straight individuals, two genes were suspected.
The first is the SLITRK5 gene on chromosome 13 that can be found in the hypothalamus of the brain, a part that is said to be different in sizing between straight and gay individuals according to a 1991 study.
The second is the TSHR gene largely connected to the brain and thyroid function.
Thyroid function has been considered by some scientists to be related to sexuality. A powerful proof lies in the study of Grave’s disease, which occurs when TSHR production is compromised and the thyroid is overactive. Grave’s disease is more common in gay men than those from the heterosexual group.
However, it is not feasible to think that biological is the end all be all when it comes down to understanding homosexuality. There are many other environmental factors and genes with milder effects that contribute to the whole.
Which is why sexuality ends up being rather complicated and there are bisexuals, along with a spectrum that determines how sexually active a person is.
From here, we move away from the heavy topic of science to something else more relatable. Environment.
Environment as evidence
The developmental years of a child is very important in the eventual growth of the person. As such, what happens around the individual will go a long way.
Based on a Danish study conducted by epidemiologist Morten Frisch and statistician Anders Hviid through the October issue of archives of sexual behaviour, there is a series of environmental factors that contribute to the possibility of same-sex marriage between people.
In the study, it was established through a study of 2 million men and women that:
1) Having older siblings improved the chances of heterosexual marriage.
2) The longer parents stayed married, the higher the chance of heterosexual marriage.
3) On the contrary, there is a lower chance of homosexual union with each year that parents stay together.
4) For men, factors such as short cohabitation with parents, long cohabitation with mother absent of father and unknown paternal identity were associated with an increased likelihood in gay marriage.
5) While for women, some factors for increased likelihood in gay marriage include short parental marriages and prolonged maternal absence.
In summary, it is believed that the highest rate of heterosexual marriages comes from parents that stay united, have many children and live in the less hectic countryside.
With studies on both environmental and biological factors, scientists hope to dismiss the common idea that the lifestyle of the LGBTQ community is a choice.
Being closeted is an exhausting thing.
To many members of the LGBTQ community, it takes the courage of a lion and truckloads of mental preparation to finally reveal their innermost feelings to those they love. Therefore, it is important that awareness is raised on the often-ignored subject through films and other media outlets.
Within the LGBTQ community, perhaps the least focus is placed on the transgender community, simply because many ‘’outsiders’’ consider their behaviour an optional one and so, there exists no real emergency in providing any moral support. This is truly appalling.
In truth, there is a legitimate biological condition called gender dysphoria, which causes someone to think and feel like the gender opposite of the one they were born with.
Childhood behavioural symptoms of sufferers include dressing up in the clothing belonging to the other gender and playing with toys traditionally specific for the other gender. What is sometimes seen as creative expression in young children (e.g. a boy dancing freely in a tutu and with make-up on), may be signs of gender dysphoria.
Therefore, it is a big deal when someone in the entertainment scene decides to ramp up on the awareness and emerges as trans, especially when it all comes as a shock to the media.
Fashion model, Teddy Quinlivan is one such individual who had taken it upon herself to rally her fellow trans women. Straight after a successful New York Fashion Week, Quinlivan decided that it was time to reveal her biggest secret…that she was born a man. This was a model who was mistaken as a biological woman for the longest time.
The lanky model has made it known that she would willingly bear the label of ‘’trans’’ for the rest of her runway career if it means rallying support for all of the transgendered people around the world, although she hopes that someday society would strip it altogether.
Throughout her childhood, Quinlivan knew she was living as a male, but in her mind, she was just cast in an elaborate role that she had aced. And there was only so much she could do to keep her true self under wraps.
Inevitably, it led to the secret cross dressing night walks, and the epic talk with her mother.
However, instead of being met with burning disappointment, her mother decided to work out a solution to give her the life she wanted.
Today, Quinlivan is a highly acclaimed model with an impressive portfolio, who radiates with confidence.
With the right amount of support and understanding, any member of the LGBTQ community will thrive and become the best they can be, just like anyone else in the streets.
In the next instalment of this mini-series, we will look at how films have pinned the LGBTQ scene on the world map and how some directors have taken the concept to the screens. Also, we will visit some LGBTQ events around the world and how they have impacted the community.
At Premise TV, we welcome film-makers and fans alike to discuss the less spoken topics such as the LGBTQ perspectives, through the use of film. Do not waiver, join us today!
Author: Laurenzo Jude