Stop Trying To Rationalize LGBTQ People
Fueled by ignorance, some people have tried to put LGBTQ people into boxes so they can be understood, with incredibly demeaning results.
It’s undeniable that recent years have marked a lot of progress for the LGBTQ community. Marriage equality was approved by the Supreme Court in 2015, many state and local laws have been passed to ensure equal rights for people regardless of gender and sexual orientation, and the social climate has improved to become much more accommodating of people who are LGBTQ.
In terms of social awareness, a big part of the progress recently has been the expansion in our understanding of LGBTQ people. We used to see homosexuality as a kind of mental illness, while now it’s completely okay, and we used to think of gender and sex as synonymous, with people only being able to identify with their birth sex, but now we accept that there is a distinction.
In the face of this, however, there has been pushback. Many people, seeing the rapid acceptance of LGBTQ people in society, have become concerned that we’re taking things too far. They think we’re doing too much to accommodate these people at the expense of social order, and they think that some of this stuff is plain made up.
For example, this article by Feminist Current essentially dismisses the existence of non-binary people as a cry for attention. They say that non-binary people just want to feel special by defying gender norms, when in reality they are clearly male or female, but just don’t want to accept it.
There are plenty of people echoing these sentiments on Reddit, the internet’s cesspool of ill-informed rage. One user said gender conflicted people don’t exist, as you can’t feel like you don’t belong to your birth sex if you’ve had it your entire life.
Another user said that non-binary genders are a personality trait, not actual genders, and identifying with them just means your personality matches up with that of the other gender or no gender at all, but doesn’t mean you’re not still your birth sex.
You also have people who think being transgender or non-binary is a mental disease, and the same as someone thinking they’re a dog. According to them, just because you think you’re a dog doesn’t mean you’re a dog, so just because you identify as a man doesn’t mean you are a man.
To be honest, I used to belong to this camp of people. I used to not understand the LGBTQ community, and I even thought that transgender people were mentally ill, as people who are transgender typically have to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, which is a mental illness.
As I’ve discovered, however, the way these people think is horrifically ignorant, and seems to be coming from a place of fear.
I am a straight, cisgender man, meaning I will never understand all of the vast complexities of the LGBTQ community. I have not grappled with my own gender or sexual identity, and I cannot look into the heads of LGBTQ people to understand exactly how they work.
The thing is, I’ve learned to accept that. I’ve learned that I will never understand how LGBTQ people work, and I don’t try to. They don’t harm me in my day to day life, and they’re not pulling society down — in fact, most of their work has made society a more equal and accepting place.
There are certainly some people just looking for attention, but most LGBTQ people are legitimately who they say they are.
Most of the people making these comments or writing these articles are likely like me, or what I used to be. They’re straight and cisgender, and have never dabbled in the LGBTQ community, but they’re trying to rationalize it.
They don’t want to wrap their head around certain facets of the community, so instead they call LGBTQ people attention seekers or mentally disabled so they don’t have to. They’re putting LGBTQ people into little boxes they can understand, but the result is incredibly demeaning.
The redefining of others has historically been a very effective tactic of oppressing minorities, and while it used to be done by governments, now these people are doing it in the court of public opinion.
We are facing a social revolution, and it’s uncomfortable, but it’s also something we need to learn to live with. Fighting back isn’t something that will work.
My advice to these people is simple: LGBTQ people are confusing, and if you don’t understand them, then leave them be. If you want to understand them, however, then close Reddit, find an LGBTQ person, and listen.