Identity and stereotypes within the LGBT community have always been on my mind. I want to tackle and defeat ignorance. It is not bliss.There are many youth out there that are falling prey to this ocean of identity and sexuality stereotypes.Why should you care? What makes this relevant to me? How does this provide better insight than a tweet from a pop star or a Huffington Post blog ? It can open your eyes to the beauty of human existence. Learning that we are all equal, we are all human, is one of the greatest, and seemingly simplest things to know, yet, here we are. Equality for the LGBT community just happened. As Callender (2015) explains in his article, the LGBT community still has to fight, die, cry, and shout for a place in society. Components are missing from America’s mindset if it’s taking this long for equality. Now, the effort isn’t for a document or law. Our fight for equality is allows people to see us as a whole. Places like indiana (Ford,2015), show us that LGBT discrimination is still a large barrier for equality in the work place. For we are humans with a beating heart as well. We are humans with jobs, families, stories and scars, not a mesh pot of stereotypes.
As of a few weeks ago, gay marriage is legal. (De Vogue and Diamond,2015) The LGBT community now has real rights to live a normal, good life. For decades,marriage was only available to part of society. Allowing everyone that right was an overdue standard freedom as a person. Now, we are all just a community. People loving people, and striving to better the world. In order to prosper together, we can’t be making huge assumptions about people. Unity is a big thing for this nation, and if we really want to be that great country we think we are, ignorance should be squelched.There are around 9 million LGBT Americans according to The Guardian (theguardian.com,2015). Though, that isn’t really much when you look at the size of the country. That is more than enough when it comes to individuality. Every single one of those Americans are just as free and just as unique as anyone else.
Stereotypes in the LGBT community (Thorpe, 2015) is still a very prominent issue in today’s society. Gay men and women still have to battle with stereotypes such as “butch” or “faggot” on a daily basis. Not all homosexuals are blatant about their sexual identity. Archer discusses gay men stereotypes. Men are always depicted as the “hero”, but that’s not always the case. Being gay does not consume the entire LGBT community’s lives. Recently, in an interview with Magic Mike’s Matt Bomer, he is asked a very narrow question about the community. He shuts it down with “why should I make a community into a yes or no?” He tells the reporter that the stigma about LGBT’s just isn’t really something to bother with, because there are so many people in the community. The point is that they are just people, like you and I. (Kennedy,2015) Transgender writer and columnist, Thomas Page McBee said ““Being human” means being at the mercy of others.” That’s a part of aspiration, too. We are born human; with hard work, we achieve humanity.”(Giardina,2014) Are we,as a society, missing that?
Humanity is equality. What is equality in the modern age? I would say regarding everyone as a human, no more, no less. Accomplishments and contributions to society (in a positive way) should be what weighs the qualities of citizens, not their personal/sexual preferences. What really defines a person? That is an ambiguous question, isn’t it? Doesn’t categorizing a person into a generic figure, probably fashioned from misrepresentations in media, also seem just as ambiguous ? If people within society thought of it that way, the large distortion of the LGBT community would definitely be held up more positively. Stereotypes tear the bonds of equality as people.
There must be a way to stop and bring the stereotype of “bad homosexuals” down. In “Stigma and Sexual Orientation: Understanding Prejudice Against Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals” there is a term mentioned, “contact hypothesis”. This means that if the majority (heterosexuals) and minority (homosexuals) have contact, the bias will become decreased towards the minority (74). This goes to show that there needs to be an effort put towards the union of society. LGBT and the rest of the world need to find a way to connect in order for huge biases to no longer exist. People watch movies with LGBT extremes and they assume the entire community is like that in real life. Does it really exist ? Yes, according to numerous studies, students have increasingly harsher experiences with negative interactions with LGBT’s. In my WordPress , I have some statistics from the Huffington Post. (Reuters,2015) Often, in the age of media, we as a society go at a very rapid pace, but with shallow results. Meaning, there is still a gap to be filed when it comes to stopping stereotypes. So, we read tons of information on our iPhones and tablets, but we process very little. I think this is a cause for lack of empathy when it comes to understanding the LGBT community. Though there are victories, and we are moving forward as society, piece by piece.
The LGBT community has been making great strides in the world and equality, but there are still some underlying issues. People are still misrepresenting the LGBT community due to harsh stereotypes. “Issues ensue when the almost-always dominating heterosexual society marginalizes the homosexuals. It has been a long-standing matter of discussion that homosexuals are discriminated for their way of living, and this could be traced down to the roots of particular stereotypes perpetuating in our hetero-centric society.” (Tagudina,2014) In “The Coast is Queer”, Iman Tagudina covers the issue of media portrayal of the LGBT community. On broader scale, she brings up good points about how the LGBT community is acridly seen by society. The piece begins with the question, “How about we call a man wearing pink “gay”?” This common association with homosexuality eventually builds into a string of stereotypes and slurs. Why is it that we do this? There is some underlying issue we aren’t really looking at, because it is engrained and comfortable in our society.
In essence, we are all just humans. How has it become different than that? “That” being: why are we allowed to determine what kind of “thing” someone is, when in reality, we are all on the same boat. Harvey Milk once said ,”All over the country, they’re reading about me, and the story doesn’t center on me being gay. It’s just about a gay person who is doing his job.” That is my main view here. This man was the first openly gay person to be elected in an office. A gay, trans, lesbian, whatever it is you prefer, should be looked at for their qualities and ethics. Sexuality should play a small part in what you are as a person. What is it that you are good at ? What do you want to be known for? Many people want it to be about their successes and accomplishments in life. Why can’t it be the same for gay people?
Tragedies against the LGBT community are all around us. We should remain focused on furthering the sources and help for this troublesome age. Instead of progressing, we would rather than call people names or get offended by someone’s personal preferences. In cases where there is immense criticism of sexuality or identity, we should worry and investigate. There has been an uprise of trans deaths in the states.There have been seven (Advocate.com 2015) trans deaths this year. All of these deaths caused by hate. Deaths that are completely obvious and aren’t being addressed so well. There must be a hopeful future for the LGBT members of society. How will you contribute to strengthening your community? Will you allow yourself to shape your views based off of actions and deeds rather than smaller, more insignificant pieces of a person ? These are things to carry with you as you head towards towards. Michael Musto
(Musto,2015) writes that the portrayal of gay men in the media is changing as we speak. He mentions that knowledge about aids and fighting for gay marriage are starting to progress, among other things regarding equality.It is a daily process and it starts with you.
MUSTO, M. (2015). I’m a Gay Cliche — and That’s OK. Advocate, (1077), 70-71. Retrieved from: EBSCO host
Tagudina, I. (n.d.). “The Coast is Queer”: Media Representations of the LGBT Community and Stereotypes’ Homophobic Reinforcement
Retrieved from: Academia
Callender, K. A. (2015). Understanding Antigay Bias From a Cognitive-Affective-Behavioral Perspective. Journal Of Homosexuality, 62(6), 782-803. doi:10.1080/00918369.2014.998965 Retrieved from: EBSCO host
ARCHER, J. (2015). Holding Out for a Hero. Advocate, (1078), 64-65. Retrieved from: EBSCO host
Matt Bomer Shuts Down LGBT Stereotypes – Watch! (n.d.).
Retrieved from: Back Lot
Why LGBT Adolescents Are Still More Likely To Face Bullying, Including Social Exclusion And Physical Harm. (n.d.) Retrieved from: Huffington Post
Here’s What Happened In Indiana As Soon As The Media Stopped Paying Attention. (2015, April 15). Retrieved from: Think Progress
Giardina, H. (2014, November 15). ‘Man Alive,’ by Thomas Page McBee. Retrieved from: The New York Times
August 12, 2015.