Society celebrates Christmas in July, so today in this article I am thinking about Pride month (based in June) in December (these are both about 5-6 months apart).  One thing I disagree with when straight people discuss trying to be accepting of people within the LGBTQ community is that many straight people want LGBTQ people to live their LGBTQ lifestyles discreetly…and may otherwise be bothered by or even lose respect for (and thus begin to disrespect with or without realizing) someone who does not.  Heterosexuals have no clue how much they do indiscreetly.  Here are a few examples:

  • Heterosexual people wear their gender’s ‘acceptable’ types of clothing and accessories (ex. a woman wears a skirt or a dress, a man who wears a suit and tie, a woman who wears 2 earrings, a man who may get by with a watch, bracelet and cufflinks, but no earrings).  But recall how long it took for heterosexual women to gain the freedom to wear pants and you will understand the issue
    • Yet if an LGBT man wants to wear a hot pink skirt or a woman wants to wear a suit and tie it’s a problem
  • Heterosexual people wear their gender’s ‘acceptable’ hairstyles (ex. men with short hair and it is cut a certain way, women with longer hair that looks like a flat iron or curling iron styled it a certain way)
    • Yet if an LGBT woman wants to wear her hair short and in the same styles as men do, it’s a problem
  • Heterosexual people may even walk a certain way according to what is ‘acceptable’ by society per their gender
    • But if a woman wants to ‘walk like a man’ or a man wants ‘walk like a woman,’ it’s a problem
  • Heterosexual couples are EVERYWHERE in media (television, movies, magazines, etc.), and they outwardly demonstrate they are a couple when out and about by holding hands, rubbing each others’ back, and being obviously closer in proximity and looking into each other’s eyes longer
    • Yet imagine if every commercial, ad, show or movie you see with a heterosexual couple was replaced by a homosexual or polyamorous one
    • Imagine if every LGBTQ couple held hands when they were out and about…in places where you’d probably see them often like the grocery store, the mall, the bank, or another common spot people hang out at on the weekends
  • Heterosexuals usually have NO hesitation in telling you they are straight.  In fact, they may say it with fearful haste if they think you may be thinking otherwise.
    • LGBTQ people have to think about telling you who they are.  We are still at a point where I do not agree with people just outright asking others what their gender or sexual preferences are from, from the standpoint of protection.  Instead, I think it is just something people should be allowed to initiate discussing or showcasing when and/or where they are ready to do so.

These and other levels of suppression of self that the LGBTQ community faces have lead to great internal stress, thus potentially leading to anxiety and depression to name a couple mental health challenges.  Those who have discriminated against them in any ways that I have provided above are likely in part responsible for the chronic physical ailments, mental health instability and potentially also suicide of some LGBTQ individuals.  That’s a tough statement but it is likely true in many cases.  How would you feel if you knew without a doubt that your discrimination was part of someone’s journey towards autoimmune illness or suicide?  If this makes absolutely no sense, go watch the movie “Crash.”

We currently have a society that tells people, ‘you may not be responsible for what happens to you, but you are responsible for your healing.’  While that may be true, it is only partly true compared to what can be, and it is a passive statement that minimizes people also taking responsibility for what they have done to others.  When you allow yourself to become aware of your responsibility and own it, it can prompt you to make different decisions going forward, and then you can change from being part of someone’s breakdown or demise to being a contributor to someone’s HEALING and RECOVERY.

Furthermore, if someone is not ‘discreet’ with their LGBTQ lifestyle, I usually think there are a few possible reasons for that:

  1. It’s their personality.  They are more outwardly expressive in general and that can likely be seen in other parts of their life that have nothing to do with being LGBTQ.
  2. Just like no one man or woman is the authority on how to carry yourself as a man or woman, certainly no straight person is the authority on what LGBTQ presents like.  It can present in many different forms, from reserved to very flamboyant.
  3. The amount of terrible things they have put up with from heterosexual people who have aggressively discriminated against them throughout their whole lives (that you have no clue about because you haven’t lived their lives), discreetly and non-discreetly, may have lead them to become the fighter for their authentic selves that they are today, and this is the level of how far they had to go to fight to maintain their authentic selves, daily.  I doubt that most people don’t think about this.  Some LGBTQ people are at the point that they do not care what you think.  They are at the point that if you decide to disrespect them by, for example, not hiring them, they do not care.

When you get to know LGBTQ people personally, you find out that so much of their life is just being human like you.  You get used to how they carry themselves and afterwhile you don’t even as often think about how they carry themselves differently from you…sometimes you’re just left seeing the human day to day.  But if you discard them before that, you deny yourself ever getting to that realization.

We live in a society that is currently trying to encourage authenticity, but sometimes when they see it, they are unwelcoming towards it.  By LGBTQ people continuously being themselves, they challenge others to get better at welcoming authenticity.

When it comes to LGBTQ acceptance levels, if you are saying, ‘oh can’t we just pause and say how far we’ve come since the 60s?’ it is probably because you are not LGBTQ or part of another group that has or is facing significant discrimination and are thus not uncomfortably facing what they face.  Yet these conversations make you uncomfortable (why is the question you need to analyze), and probably for that reason, you want to pause.  If you were facing discrimination, you’d want all facets of it to stop now, and you would likely not stop pushing for it to stop.  While a sense of gratefulness and patience regarding the LGTBQ movement for acceptance, and thus management of mental health challenges in a discriminatory environment can come from that statement for LGBTQ people, the level of patience is only to be determined by them.

Happy Pride in December.

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