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It has wildly been accepted that the LGBTQ+ community is a safe haven for those unique and different who don’t necessarily belong to the mundane categories of "normal" and "acceptable" within society. While very true, it does have its flaws; common in most groups, communities and societies differences can divide rather than combine and unfortunately the LGBTQ+ community isn’t exempt. Here are three things about the LGBTQ+ community everyone needs to know:
1. The Minority
A community rich with vibrant and incredible people—all from different backgrounds and ethnicities, the LGBTQ+ community can appear to be dominated by specifically white gay men and women. Making up much of the community, it can be easy to forget the other voices that exist within the community, but nevertheless they must be heard. People of colour who identify within the community can still feel unheard and misrepresented by the media, popular culture and sometimes within the community itself. Sad but true, a lot of it comes down to majority vs. minority but that doesn’t make it okay. Whether you identify within the community or not it is important that everyone acknowledge and make heard the many different sexualities, identities, genders, races and religions that exist within such an incredible community.
2. It’s not exempt from shaming.
Unfortunately, people within the community itself can act in ways towards others that can not be tolerated. Biphobia, transphobia, and even ignorance can still persist within the community which can lead to tension; usually aged stereotypes or ingrained beliefs can lead people to act in certain ways towards others that as a community and society we would rather not have. Gay men and women calling bisexuals "cheaters" or "not real" and individuals lack of understanding of what it means to be transgender are just the tip of an iceberg that unfortunately still exists. While progress is being made, nobody deserves to feel inadequate or ashamed of who they are especially within a community supposed to support them.
The community itself can not only be a wonderful place for meeting other individuals like yourself but a brilliant place to educate yourself about the wide array of sexualities, genders, and identities. Apart of the community myself, I would never have been exposed to the diversity within our society if not for it. While admittedly not always harmonious, it is always learning and growing. We have seen the rise in acceptance of non-binary men and women for example, something that probably wouldn’t have happened without the community.
It’s important that everyone understands that while an amazing place, it does have its flaws but by acknowledging them we can improve them. I am proud to be a part of a community that is constantly growing and evolving to learn and accept and while we have a long way to go, we are on the right track. No matter who you are, how you identify it is important that you know you matter. At the end of the day, that is truly what the community is about.