“The LGBTQ+ community wasn’t explained to me once as a child by teachers or my parents.”
“The idea that my sexuality would prevent me from having one [relationship]…was confusing and…a little lonely.”
“I thought of myself as dysfunctional and horribly wrong.”
“I don’t want to tell anyone because I don’t want to be shamed or made fun of.”
“I remember my father telling me that bisexual people did not exist.”
**These are all messages from members of the LGBTQ community that we have reached out to. All quotes in this article have been submitted anonymously to us for use in this article.**
Few people are educated about what it means to be LGBTQ, and to this day many people look down on the community. This pride month, learn how you can become a better LGBTQ+ advocate.
What does LGBTQ+ stand for?
L stands for Lesbian
G stands for Gay
B stands for Bisexual (abbreviated as bi)
T stands for Transgender (abbreviated as trans)
Q stands for Queer (though this slur has been reclaimed by many members of the LGBTQ+ community, some are uncomfortable using “queer” as a label, so make sure the person is comfortable with it before using it to describe them)
“+” stands for plus or more
Stigma around being LGBTQ+
“The lack of discussion of LGBTQ+ folks in the education system caused me to think poorly of myself for a very long time.”
“Thinking of myself as fundamentally flawed.”
“[The] utter lack of representation…made me feel like there was something wrong with me.”
“I always thought that people would view me differently.”
Many members of the LGBTQ community are abused or looked upon on by friends or family. LGBTQ people are subject to far higher depression, anxiety, and suicide rates than their heterosexual counterparts.
Conversion therapy is emotional or physical abuse and stimulation with a goal of changing sexual or gender identification. At least 700,000 people have been subject to conversion therapy to this point, with over 80,000 more expected in the coming years. Conversion therapy does not work. This is a fact proven by major medical associations. LGBTQ identities are not illnesses. They cannot, and should not, be changed through conversion therapy. Studies show that conversion therapy can cause or increase self-hatred for members of the LGBTQ community.
How can you support members of the community?
“Every family conversation spiraling to issues of identities or civil rights starting prompting terrible fear.”
Especially when talking to people you don’t know, asking what their preferred pronouns are can make a huge difference. If you are unsure, use they/them/their. These pronouns are gender-neutral and are never wrong to use. Remember that being LGBTQ+ is not wrong and that you should support your friends and family regardless of their identities.
“I’ve started getting even more concerned with labels.”
“Understanding this part of myself sometimes makes me feel different, yet I love loving women.”