We’ve come pretty far, LGBTQ people. Have we overcome? Not quite. There’s still a lot of work to do since people still consider us to be a little weird.
The latest example of this comes by way of a GLAAD study regarding perceptions of the LGBTQ community from non-LGBTQ persons. There were many realizations, most of which were bummers. Like this one: over a third of people don’t see the acceptance of LGBTQ persons as an issue. Uhhh. What?
It gets weirder and even more of a let down when you dig deeper. The Daily Beast recaps the most important (Or upsetting?) parts of the study:
Nearly 30 percent of non-LGBT respondents said they feel uncomfortable when they see a same-sex couple holding hands or learn that their child’s teacher is LGBT. A quarter of them believe that high rates of depression and suicide among LGBT people are “not serious” and 27 percent said the same about violence against transgender people.
These numbers are an improvement from last year but not by much. Many fell by only a few percentage points and some—like discomfort with LGBT history lessons being taught in schools or at seeing an LGBT co-worker’s wedding photo—were virtually unchanged. In 2016, it may be legal for a lesbian to get married but she will still likely pause before planting a picture of her spouse on her desk.
That’s a fucking letdown and a reminder that, outside of cities, the life of gay people are very much considered taboo or “not real.” These examples related to comfort and stigma are the ultimate markers of overcoming too and ultimately illustrate that gay marriage appeared to be the last marker—but we have a lot more to accomplish. We might all be complicit in this too.
For example: I, personally, can see myself being a part of this problem and the product of this issue. I hate holding hands with my boyfriend or even displaying any marker of our love in public. It feels wrong. It feels like I’m doing something that everyone is watching. I can feel eyes on me and feel like I’ve become a target for being too flamboyant or too faggy or too something that isn’t right. I know that is ridiculous. I wear short shorts and have dyed maroon hair: I’m a fucking weird looking dude. Everyone knows I’m gay yet, still, I don’t feel comfortable actually acting on it. That’s kind of fucked up, no?
This all gets back to this issue I have with lots of gay celebrities. Many are out and gay and that’s great but many have removed the sex from their sexuality. They don’t put themselves out there as actors in these parts. They talk about it, sure, but they do not touch other men publicly or provide PDA efforts to show that, yes, I am a person who has sex differently so—Here!—look at me participate in that. The reality of the situation—which I see myself in very much—is that saying and doing in front of people are two different things. You can be out and say you are out and do out things but getting into the PDA aspect of LGBTQ life is where things get troubling since you don’t feel like you are comfortable, like you are allowed to display affection.
Perhaps it’s all on us? Perhaps we as the community need to evolve perception by being a bit more forward with how we love in public? Just an idea because I have no fucking idea where to start with this.