The 2017 LGBT Festival shines a light on the community’s plight against discrimination. In pure LGBT fashion, people celebrate Pride events with a unique and colorful flair with parades, celebrity live performances, and, of course, open bars. However fun and endearing it is to organize such events, we must not lose the bigger picture of it all. We should all go back to the question, “why are we doing this?”
Although acceptance of homosexuality has grown over the years, the LGBT community still gets the flak for their being. With the sheer number of people uneducated and unaware of the community’s fight for acceptance, events like this can stimulate discussion and present valuable information for LGBT acceptance.
Educate Them With Pride History
A study from Pew Research uncovers that 48% of LGBT adults believe Pride events only help promote social acceptance by a little. Pride Events do hold significance in creating awareness. But aiming for social acceptance requires a confident and robust support system coming from the community themselves. The LGBT community carries a colorful past. Efforts, struggles, and years of advocacies led to how the Pride Empire is now. We should flaunt it, and say, “this is what we’ve gone through, and this is what we are today.” We should share this pride with our community.
Be Open To Dialogue
The community and its alliances should include stimulating and enlightening discussions with people outside the community. There are strong-headed traditionalists we can educate, and there are still some iffy people we can inform. Pride events are avenues to start a dialogue with them. Admittedly, some people are timid to ask questions about topics seemingly foreign to them. Let’s take this opportunity by the reigns and openly invite these curious people to panel discussions. Such communication initiatives are encouraging as long as both parties put on respectful attitudes towards others’ opinions. The goal here is not necessarily to persuade to be on our side but to share our experiences why we choose to be here.
Pride events are already loud celebrations of love and equality, but some people are not yet ready to hear it. Let’s not stop these nay-sayers from dampening our spirits. Instead, let’s celebrate and educate them at the same time. Pride education and dialogues help us strengthen our team and remain open for those who want to listen.
Whenever the story of a gay man falling in love with a straight woman becomes public, it always baffles people. They may ask, “Why will you go in that direction if you already announced your homosexuality?” Some even fear that the queer will eventually get tired of the relationship with his wife and look for another man.
Husbands and wives who want to be together for eternity do not let simple arguments become the cause of their split. They may yell at each other from time to time, yet they never go in for the kill, if you know what I mean. Nevertheless, there’s one deal-breaker that couples may not be able to get back from one of the partners comes out as a gay man or woman.
If there is one thing that can scare guys at times, it is a woman’s intuition. It is rare for any juicy detail to get past you, especially if it involves your loved ones. Even when the other person remains in denial, and you do not have pre-existing knowledge of what you feel suspicious about, you tend to know somehow whether the man is lying or not.
Isn’t it delightful to be in a serious gay relationship these days?
The world has become accustomed to the nonconformities that queer folks bring to life. Fewer people will frown or bat an eyelid if they see two guys holding hands on the streets. You do not need to pose as a heterosexual to either retain a job or receive a promotion. More importantly, a growing number of countries are legalizing same-sex marriage, so you may tie the knot with your long-term partner anytime – and almost anywhere – you wish.
If you ask a transgender, lesbian, or gay man how they came out to their parents, the responses you will get do not fit for all. The luckiest of the bunch may say that it was as effortless as telling his folks that he’s set to pursue this or that career. However, the most exciting stories typically originate from the ones whose parents opposed – or will likely reject – their sexual preference.
A straight man like me who advocates for the rights of the members of the LGBT community is not unheard of. I have seen a lot of manly guys rescue a gay colleague from bullies, and their relationships are incredibly platonic. Some men take in the festivities during Pride Month. It’s not because they want to make fun the people who stand under the rainbow flag. Instead, it’s because they believe that being able to reveal one’s identity is a cause for celebration.
Now, the reality is that there are not many individuals who bully LGBT members out in public. Some restaurants may still not let crossdressers in while other public bathrooms don’t have a sign for a third sex, but they are getting lesser and lesser. What increases, though, is the number of people who show their aversion to queers online.
How Can Haters Do That?
The internet is comparable to a double-edged sword. On one side, it is extremely helpful. You can use it to conduct quick research or connect with your loved ones. On the other hand, it gives low-life individuals a chance to hate on others anonymously. After all, you can create multiple accounts on social media as long as you make different email addresses beforehand. They can then be used for the sole purpose of spreading meanness on gay people’s pages.
How Can You Show Support To Your LGBT Friends Online?
It hurts for me to see homophobic posts coming from strangers or even the folks I know, even if they don’t pertain to me. In case you still haven’t caught on, it is a transparent form of cyberbullying. Reports reveal that the people who get bullied online have a higher likelihood of self-harming or, worse, committing suicide. So, if you want to save your LGBT friends from even thinking of doing so, you should do the following and more.
Dislike Bullying Comments
One reason why bullies do not stop posting hateful comments about gay people is that nobody stands up against them. Some get angry and curse them under their breath; others may run in private group chats or front of their friends and family members. However, it is sporadic to find someone who dislikes their actions in public.
What are you afraid of, if I may ask? You may say that you don’t want to pick a fight, but you are enabling the bullies by not doing anything at all. Considering you want to bring them back to the ground, you should not be scared of disagreeing with them on a public page.
Spread Positive Information About The Community
From time to time, it is not wrong to share images, videos, or texts that show your support to the LGBT community. For instance, if you found an article about a gay man who does charity work everywhere, you should post that in your social media account. In case you witnessed the union of two of your lesbian friends, you should upload some photos from the wedding. As little as these activities may be, it becomes apparent to everyone that you are against homophobia.
Staying mum even when your friends get bullied online does not make you a supportive friend. It merely entails that you are saving yourself from potential bashers. If you genuinely want people to stop hating on the members of the LGBT community, you should advocate for them in public actively.
As you can probably tell after browsing through this blog, I am all for gender equality. I aim to encourage people to be who they are meant to be and love whoever they want to love. It does not matter if you are straight or gay at this point. You only get this one life to express yourself. If you allow the social norms to dictate how you should live your life, then you are setting yourself up for misery on end.
The thing is, not everyone is judgmental. Others like me support their friends or family members, especially if they want to come out as gay. It can feel suffocating to keep on hiding your identity, after all. A bisexual man who used to go out with girls wants to date another guy, for instance, or a lesbian is in a secret relationship with a female colleague. Since the individuals they are with are single, and they are not stepping on anyone’s toes, there’s no reason for them to stay in the closet. “I think in some parts of the country it may feel ‘safer’ for LGBTQ-identified youth to come out, but for many, the issues remain the same.” Nicole Issa, PsyD said.
Despite telling people all these things, though, I fail at one thing: making my best friend believe it.
Ian has been with his boyfriend for almost five years now. Every two weeks, he would meet his man, as well as his parents and siblings. They were open with them. But when Ian comes home to his family, he would act as a manly son in front of his mom and dad. They seemed pretty chill to me, so I wondered why gay folks would choose to hide their gender preference.
Here are some of the reasons that Ian gave to me.
1. There’s No Need For Lengthy Explanations This Way
My best friend is admittedly not the most talkative person in the world. He cracks jokes and goes crazy when we are around, but deep conversations are not his thing. In truth, I only heard him talk about his current relationship and past heartbreaks once when he got so drunk. Other times, he would merely listen to us and offer his two cents if asked.
Because of that, Ian does not think it’s a good idea to come out to his parents. “Doing so will require me to mention how or when it started,” he said. It’s not that they don’t deserve to know things about his sexuality, but he’s not ready for lengthy explanations yet.
2. They Are Afraid Of Negative Reaction From Loved Ones
Ian also mentioned that he’s scared that his mom and dad might have an adverse reaction towards his gender preference. A lot of members of the third sex hold on to this fear as far as I can tell. That is especially true if they are deeply attached to their family, and they don’t want to be seen in a bad light. Linda A. Travis, PsyD used to say, “I can’t overstress the potential fears that people have about discrimination,” she says. As a result, she says, “LGBT older adults can be reluctant to see health-care providers until their problems become so bad they can no longer avoid doing so.”
3. They Did Not Want To Hear Stereotypes
Coming out to the parents entails coming out to the neighbors, colleagues, and other people in their circle. According to my best friend, that’s the kind of stress that they don’t need right now. While many of them may accept the truth, after all, others may poke fun at them or typecast them by their sex.
“Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is now on the world stage.” Michael Friedman Ph.D. stated. The decision to disclose or hide one’s sexuality is no one else’s but the person who has that sexuality. As much as I say that showing your true colors is not bad, I will never out my best friend in front of anyone. It is something that you should not do either, primarily if someone has trusted you with this information. No reason is invalid in this case; let’s all respect each other and wait for them to be ready to come out of the closet on their own.
The members of the LGBTQ community are some of the loveliest people I know. For one, they are so strong for being able to come out and tell the world, “It’s who I am, and I’m not sorry for it.” Individuals with homophobia may frown upon them and call them names. Others even become discriminated at work or even in public establishments because of showing their true colors. Although such incidents hurt them, they do not hold on to that grudge for long. Instead, they smile and think that they must not be enlightened yet.
You can still hear or see news about gay folks getting mistreated not only in the United States but also in various countries. It is saddening to know that they have to deal with so much negativity before everyone can accept them. That should never be the case because we have the right to choose who we will become, and no one should tell us any differently.
Nevertheless, there seems to be hope still for acceptance to come sooner than later. After all, many Hollywood celebrities — even the straight ones — show their support to LGBTQ friends. We are talking about huge names, such as Chris Evans, Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney, and former President Barack Obama. Didn’t Lady Gaga even release the song entitled Born This Way, which became the unofficial anthem for the rainbow community?
So, the standing question is, “What does it mean to have celebrities supporting LBGTQ publicly?”
It Prevents The Cultivation Of Hate
The first advantage of having famous personalities saying that they love the gay community is that it prevents the cultivation of hate. Many celebrities have young fans who like to copy whatever their idols do, you see. Even though someone at home may frown upon LGBTQ, if their favorite singer or actor supports it, they will follow the latter in a heartbeat.
It Helps People See The Gay Community In A Non-Stereotypical Light
There is a significant number of individuals from the rainbow community who have contracted HIV or AIDS after having unprotected sex. Even straight people can acquire such illnesses, as well as addicts who inject themselves with drugs using a used needle. However, only gay people get associated with sexually transmitted diseases, to the extent that those are the first words that homophobes think of upon seeing them.
This stereotype is something that celebrities can help squash. By merely posting something about it on Instagram or talking about it in a TV show, they can make people aware that HIV/AIDS isn’t synonymous to being gay. And if you do come across someone with this condition, you should show them love instead of disgust or prejudice.
It Opens Opportunities For Talented Gay Individuals
Gay characters in movies or TV shows used to serve as comic relief. Thanks to the growing support for the LGBTQ community, though, we see more plots that revolve around it and more gay actors breaking into mainstream media. They merely have to be themselves; they do not have to play the role of a straight man or woman. Their parts are still fun — that’s for sure — but they are not made fun of anymore.
No matter what your occupation is, dear reader, you should act like celebrities in this manner and advocate equality wherever you go. Being gay is neither a sin nor a crime. It is not someone’s fault if they end up liking another person from the same sex. To quote Lady Gaga, they are simply “born this way.”
Charlie is one of the guys I grew up with. He was my classmate from seventh grade up until high school. Although we went to different universities, our closeness did not dwindle. He’s that type of friend who could never make any moment dull. He’s so funny as well even without trying because he’s extremely witty.
As bubbly as Charlie acts whenever we’re together, though, I knew he’s dealing with a huge problem. That is, he could not tell his family that he’s a closet queen.
Charlie has been keeping this secret for as long as I can remember. It is genuinely difficult to notice it unless you see him cuddling up to his boyfriend. He is masculine, he cringes at the idea of wearing girly clothes, and he is not vain at all. However, such things cannot erase the fact that he is a man who is into the same sex.
What’s The Problem?
Charlie’s ultimate issue is that he comes from a conservative family. His parents follow the teachings from the Catholic religion, to the extent that they even use the rosary every day. Of course, it also entails that they want to stay with the old belief that a man should only be for a woman and that being gay is a mortal sin. There is no way to sugarcoat that truth, regardless of how unfair it may be.
What Can You Do To Help A Gay Friend Come Out?
I know that Charlie is merely one of the thousands of gay people out there who are still in the closet. If you have a friend like mine, here’s what you should do to help them come out.
- Avoid Rushing It
No matter how much you want your friend to be free from the emotional burden, don’t pressure them into doing it. I believe that there is a right timing for everything, especially when it comes to sensitive matters like this. If you rush them, their loved ones might disown them.
- Boost Their Spirit
Being unable to tell the truth, can depress your friend, so do everything to cheer them up. You can talk to them every day, send words of wisdom often, and say how loveable they are still. Try various things to boost their spirit so that their courageousness will increase as well.
- Remind Them Of The Reality
Since you are both adults already, you should help them understand that coming out may not always mean acceptance. Some parents, even though they love their child dearly, end up saying nasty words if the latter does something that’s entirely against their beliefs. Still, it should not bother your friend and just let them come to terms with it.
- Stay By Their Side
The closer your friend gets to come out, the more they need you on their side. It is a nerve-wracking experience, you see. It can induce anxiety more than proposing to your special someone or walking down the aisle. What they are about to do can make or break their family (literally). You can’t force their parents to think in any way; that’s why you should serve as your friend’s support system.
Keeping secrets from your loved ones is wrong, but I guess some people have no choice but to do it. That is especially true when it comes to your showing your true colors.
In case your friend has a hard time to come out of their rainbow closet, feel free to follow the tips above. Good luck!