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.
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.
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.”
In the past ten years, there have been constant trials and challenges that the LGBT community has faced on equal rights. Bullying, abuse, and discrimination primarily because of the existing stigma have led the community to be highly vulnerable to various kinds of mental, behavioral, and emotional problems. If they seek the help of mental health professional, they should choose the right therapist who can capably deal with and have experience in reaching out to the gays, lesbians, and transgenders who in reality are unique in their own ways. They, too, are entitled to personalize and efficient mental health services.
“Loneliness is an epidemic, We’re the most socially connected society, yet so many people experience extreme loneliness.” psychologist Amy Sullivan, PsyD. said. With that, one mental health condition that is prevalent among the LGBT community is depression, with anxiety just a close second.
It is generally normal for teens and adolescents to explore and learn the love for freedom. However, LGBT teens are mostly stressed in an environment that is not so accepting of them, especially in the home and at school. An article from the Mental Health in Family Medicine stated that teen gays and lesbians are among the most common victims of bullying and physical abuse and usually suffer from extreme stress, depression, and anxiety. Linda A. Travis, PsyD once said, “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.”
Despite the cultural and social developments in first world countries, adults in the LGBT community continue to be bombarded with many challenges and difficulties. The Journal of Women’s Health states that the higher likelihood of depression among LGBT adults is largely due to the discrimination and lack of support from society. A study done by The Gerontologists focused on the healthcare provisions that the LGBT adults are in crucial need of. It is a sad truth that this group has very little access to proper care and therapy.
Understanding Sexual Identity
Sexual identity is such an extensive topic that involves our points of view and our personal opinions when it comes to sexual and romantic relationships. There are misunderstandings and even violent reactions when discussing this topic.
One must remember that sexual identity is different from gender identity, as sexual identity refers to sexual or romantic attraction towards other people and gender identity is an individual’s personal view of self – of whether he is male, female, gay, lesbian, or both. It can be different or the same as the gender assigned to them at birth.
The Stigma Around LGBT
The LGBT community is among the most prevalent groups that are victims of stigma by other people and even by their own families, friends, and coworkers. A major reason for this is that the general population still lacks knowledge, comprehension, and empathy. Also, others somehow practice a strict belief for them to reject people who do not belong to the normal male and female categories.
Bullying also makes up a large percentage of the pie on the major matters that cause LGBT anxiety and depression. “There is no remorse or “just kidding.” The final hallmark of bullying behavior is the intent and knowledge that they can, and likely will, do it again and can purposely keep people on guard.” Paul Schwartzman, LMHC, MS, DAPA explains. It seems that prejudiced students, parents, and other individuals still haven’t gotten tired of criticizing those who are different from the rest, despite their skills and what good they can offer to the community. Teachers and other educators should act upon this immediately if this is present in their classrooms or school surroundings. They must help prevent this violent act from happening and educate their students about the concept of equality and discrimination.
The Need For Therapy
Aside from the issues mentioned above, LGBT individuals also experience other equally devastating problems, such as PTSD, social discrimination, and suicide. This puts them at a tremendously higher likelihood of developing mental health illnesses and suffering from low quality and access to therapy and other types of mental health care. However, as more and more studies reveal the importance of these services for the LGBT community, a lot of programs are now established to allow the community to access the services of therapists, psychologists, counselors, and even social workers.
Since depression is on top of the list of the most commonly seen mental illnesses in LGBT individuals, the need for professional help has been recognized and eventually appropriately provided.
The Right Therapist
If you are gay, lesbian, transgender, or someone who had chosen to be different from the gender assigned to him when he was born, do not be ashamed to seek therapy. And for you to get the full benefits of mental health therapy, find someone well-acquainted with the problems that you and your community have been facing. He should also be capable of understanding your sentiments and what has caused you to be anxious and depressed. Finally, the therapist must have an open mind and an empathic heart that can reach out and help you break the barriers that have been keeping you from growing into the best you can ever be.
The idea of building a family with the love of your life is not only common for opposite-sex couples. Even lovebirds of the same sex think of it too; that’s why they consider getting married. While some find it a bit scary, others seem to want to pull the hours so that it will come fast.
Mental health counselors probably have encountered a lot of heartbreaking stories from LGBT patients. And these stories are due to homophobia and heterosexualism. Many of the LGBT would feel different merely because they are not heterosexuals. They want to speak out but are afraid to do it.
The Societal expectation of the LGBT community has arisen for more than a decade, and their fight against equality has always been their top priority. Though there might have been some enlightenment on their side of the issue and the world is now accepting them than it was years ago, there are still facts and figures around the world that doesn’t support their advocacies. In most cases, it happens to be the reason why coming out is an unfathomable struggle.
Intersectionality: An Overview
Intersectionality is most simply defined as the overlap of minority identities. For example, a woman who is both African American and bisexual would be a part of three different minority groups: gender (as a woman), race (as a woman of color), and sexuality (as a part of the LGBTQ+ community). The combination of different identities drastically increases an individual’s likelihood of discrimination, marginalization, and harassment.
Particularly in the LGBTQ+ community, people of color and individuals who identify as a woman are much more susceptible to oppression than the rest of the community. This is because of the oppression combined with being a part of more than one marginalized demographic.