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How To: Be A Better LGBTIQ Ally

denin-lawley-1473210-unsplashPhoto by Denin Lawley


On May 17th, we recognise the International Day Against Homophobia, Bipohobia, Interphobia and Transphobia. It is a day where we all stand with and for the LGBTIQ Community in solidarity.

Statistics show that 24.4% of those in the LGBTQI community experience depression, and that 75% of  all Australian youth have, or will, experience some sort of discrimination (according to IDAHOBIT website). It is clear we still have some way to go in the fight for acceptance.

Education is key. It allows us to understand how we all can be better allies and ensure we are kind in our actions.

I spoke with two openly bisexual women who explained why there are some phrases we should be aware of that may be contributing to these numbers, and how we could unintentionally be creating unsafe spaces within our society for those in the LGBTIQ community. Here are just some of them-

 

tanushree-rao-1455713-unsplash
Photo by Tanushree Rao


“It’s just a phase”

Sophie Meryn: “We are constantly told that we are not valid, not real and just looking for attention.”

“In reality, we don’t fit into any group. We aren’t gay enough; we aren’t straight enough. If we identify as women, we are often then fetishised by straight men, and if we identify as men, we are told that we are in fact, just gay.”

“We live through this discrimination and misunderstanding every day.”

Emma Johnson: “It about respecting our right to choose, whether the next person I date is a woman or a man.”

 

“The sassy gay best friend”

Emma: “Stereotyping is harmful.”

“I can understand why humans feel the need to attribute personalities and characteristics to organise groups of people, but that’s not what being human is.”

“Creating these collectives rather than understanding that each person, including those who identify as gay, are individuals and shouldn’t be put in a box, is lazy.”

Sophie: “The stereotyping of gay people inhibits the ability for gay people to feel they can truly identify with that label; that they have to give up something core to their identity to be able to be gay or that they should shun being gay entirely.”

 

“Not Normal”

Sophie: “Just like gender, sex is on a spectrum.”

“We are all made up of different chromosomes and hormones that help to indicate where exactly we lie on the sex spectrum.”

“You can have a penis with significantly more X/Y chromosomes or less testosterone, and none of these factors will make you any more or less than what you identify as.”

“Intersex people deserve to exist just as much as any other person on either end of the sex spectrum and by othering them, we are othering ourselves.”

 

“Trans women/men are not real women/men”

Emma: “Gender is a construct and no one has the right to decide what someone can or cannot identify as. They are just as real as anyone else.”

Sophie: “To say such a phrase as a Trans Person is not what they really identify as denies that person’s very existence and experiences.”

“It creates a divide and a blurred line of what it really means to be a gender and that a person has to play a role or alter themselves to be able to be themselves.”

“It creates harmful, unnecessary dysphoria for that person that can have life impacting implications.”

 

denin-lawley-1473211-unsplashPhoto by Denin Lawley

 

Words by Erin Riordan Peña 

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