Myths about being LGBTQIA
October is pride month. If you don’t know already “Pride” is the celebration of equality, diversity and individuality with focus on the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersex, asexual) community. It’s about celebrating sexuality in all its forms and fighting against inequality and hate crimes. But what does pride mean to you? For many, pride is about feeling safe and confident within their skin, having pride in their actions and beliefs and being happy and proud with who they are. Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a part of the LGBTQIA community and when there are so many untrue myths, stereotypes as well as stigma and discrimination. Let’s look at some of these myths and stereotypes and break them down Choma:
Myth 1: You’re going through a phase
How often have you heard this one? It’s just a phase, it’ll pass, and you’re just confused? Understanding your sexuality and identity is a process of experimentation, even heterosexual and cisgender* people go through it. When you're attracted to the opposite sex, no one tells you that it’s just a phase. You can start out by liking people of the opposite sex and go your whole life not changing your mind about it. Same with anyone who is LGBTQIA who might be attracted to the same sex or both the same and opposite sex and never change their minds about it. No one has the right to assume that it’s just a passing phase, no matter what your sexuality.
* Heterosexual: This means that you’re sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex. Homosexual on the other hand means being attracted to people of the same sex.
* Cisgender: When your personality and gender identity match the sex you were born with. For example, you are born female and identify as being a girl or woman. Transgender on the other hand is when your gender identity does not match the sex you were born with: Being born female and identifying as a boy or man.
Myth 2: It’s a choice
People do not choose who they’re attracted to, they only thing they can choose is how to face their feelings and either be true to themselves or live a lie. At the end of the day, everyone deserves to be happy and to love who they love.
Myth 3: Homosexuality is unnatural and sinful
What could be more natural than being your true self and accepting your sexual attraction and gender identity? In fact, did you know that scientists have actually spotted homosexual tendencies in many different animals in nature, from penguins to lions and even chimpanzees? I guess attraction is universal and we like who we like, no matter what.
Myth 4: You’re doing it because it’s fashionable
Some people truly believe that LGBTQIA youth are influenced by the media and pop culture; that it is now almost fashionable to identify as “other” and portray a gender-fluid identity. This comes back to thinking that your sexuality is a choice. You might see more people “coming out as gay” but that doesn’t mean that more people are becoming gay, it simply means that society is becoming more accepting of people being gay or that people are becoming more brave about coming out. It’s important to embrace your sexuality, however you choose to do it.
Myth 5: Being LGBTQIA is a lifestyle
Your sexuality is not a fashion choice, or something you choose to adopt for the weekend to look cool. Being LGBTQIA is who you are, it encompasses everything about you and how you live your life and express your experiences is completely up to you.
Myth 6: You can be cured
Homosexuality is not a disease and therefore cannot be “cured”. Some people believe that you can cure homosexuality through sex with a partner of the opposite sex, not only is this untrue, this can potentially cause some serious emotional and psychological damage. Even worse, extremists have taken this belief as the justification for “corrective rape”* and other shocking hate crimes.
* Corrective rape: A hate crime involving raping someone who is gay, lesbian or transgender because their sexuality upsets you and you think raping them will stop them from expressing their sexuality. The excuse people who rape members of the LGBTQIA community is that they are trying to cure them.
Gays and lesbians have distinctive characteristics
You might hear things like “gays are girly and drama queens” or lesbians are “butch and like to dress like boys”. The truth is that homosexual individuals are as diverse as heterosexual ones. Just like your straight friends all have their own unique characteristics and personalities, so do your gay and transgender friends. It’s that simple.
At the end of the day, the only things that truly matter are being true to yourself and taking pride in everything that makes you, you. Happy pride month, Chomas.
Remember, you can send me a message to talk to me about anything. So if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
Did you find this article helpful? Yes No