In recent times, many people have come forward in support of the LQBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans gender, Queer) community and have realized the importance of validating and respecting their existence. Throughout history people have always had varying preferences when it comes to gender association and sexual orientation. This is evident through historical works of literature. In fact, even in India many ancient architectures and pilgrimage sites have sculptures depicting orientation towards the same gender or have trans references. Though many are beginning to be inclusive, hate crimes and ill-treatment of the community still pertains. This is attributed to the myths and misconceptions revolving around this very idea. Which is why today I am going to bust 14 common misconceptions about the LGBTQ community.
- Being LGBTQ is a choice.
Fortunately, People atleast from the educated upbringing have the awareness that being a trans gender occurs naturally and in no way is the person responsible for it. It is the result of a chromosomal aberration that occurs during fertilization. Even then, they are not treated with dignity and crimes against them are mundane occurrences. But the concept of sexual orientation towards the same sex is simply incomprehensible by many. Nevertheless, a LGBQ person doesn’t choose to be so either. They realize their sexual orientation at some point in their lives just like how a straight woman doesn’t choose to develop feelings for a particular man but it happens naturally and vice versa. Some find it out at earlier stages while others develop feelings later. At the end of the day, being LGBTQ is not one’s choice but one’s identity.
2. Being LGBTQ is immoral and shameful.
Any relationship that occurs between two consenting people is absolutely normal and has nothing condemnable. Hence, the same for two people from the same gender. The LGBTQ community is not doing anything that harms anyone, they are only asking for their rights and acceptance for something that happens naturally. Thus, there is nothing immoral or shameful in this.
3. This can be cured.
Well, there are some existing treatments and hormones administered to suppress the exhibition of trans characteristics since, its caused by chromosomal aberrations. But considering it as a cure is subjective as many do not adhere to such treatments on their own will but do so due to parental and societal pressures. As such treatments change physical features but psychologically trans men and women associate themselves as the gender they are turning into rather than their birth gender. But being LGBQ as all psychologists agree is not a disorder or psychological problem to be cured but simply one’s sexual orientation that cannot be changed. Attempting to do so will only result in forceful suppression of one’s feelings which leads to depression or worst suicidal thoughts.
4. Having friendship with LGBTQ peers is a bad influence and you might become like them.
As I said earlier one’s sexual orientation is not a choice but something that occurs naturally. So, no one can make you a LGBTQ person neither can you choose to be one. Your peers have not chosen to be so in the first place hence, it is impractical to assume that being with them might make you like them. People also make such assumptions while having children around them which is untrue and totally unnecessary. So be supportive with your peers instead of isolating them or showing them hate as they are already receiving a lot from the society.
5. Being bisexual is like cheating on your partner.
I can’t believe this is even a misconception but people often get confused with the term bisexual. This word simply means a person who has orientation towards both genders and does not imply in any way that the person has a relationship with 2 or more people. Like any normal relationship a bisexual person also chooses to be with 1 person but, this one person can be a male or a female. It is as simple as that.
6. These same gender relationships don’t last long or they cannot form a family.
The strength or longitivity of any relationship depends on the respective individuals and their circumstances. Likewise, anyone from the LGBTQ community can start their own family and lead their life happily. In fact, there are many examples of such families. But, many such relationships do break solely because of the non-acceptance and derogatory viewpoints of the society on the community.
7. These people are generally flirtious with everybody.
This is a serious misconception that has to be addressed. The main reason for such thoughts to arise is because of films and media stereotyping people from this community to generally be flirtious with everyone. But this is utterly false. Like any straight or cis gender person their feeling are also exclusive to the person they have feelings for irrespective of their gender. If you argue that this trait changes from person to person then it should imply to humans in general rather than targeting a particular community.
8. This is just a result of excessive modernization.
As I mentioned earlier there are several historical references proving the existence of such people several centuries before. But these references have been subtle which made them go unrecognized for a very long time. This proves the existence of the LGBTQ community all through the years. The attention they receive now is because they have spoken up and are asking for their recognition after years of being suppressed.
9. You can identify them with their body language and mannerisms.
This is another myth which developed due to stereotypic media and film portrayal. Just because a girl acts or appears masculine or vice versa doesn’t means she is a trans man or a lesbian. These may be outcomes of one’s surroundings, likes or dislikes and is not indicative of one’s sexuality. Such assumptions especially when intended in a derogatory manner can be very hurtful. You can never assume someone’s orientation by external factors as it is a result of one’s internal feelings.
10. By allowing their existence the government is giving them privileges.
Being able to express one’s gender and identity is a basic right. So allowing their existence is not a privilege but a fundamental right which was denied for such a long time. Disapproving their identity is only unconstitutional.
11. Many people have become part of the LGBTQ community in recent times.
As I said earlier nobody becomes or chooses to be lesbian or gay, it is a natural phenomenon. In fact, the reason behind such feelings is still unclear. So, the community has existed at par with human’s existence. The population and numbers reported now is because, people are opening up about their identity and are unwilling to remain suppressed and lead fake lives in fear of the society.
12. Normalizing the transgender community and accepting them as their perceived gender is risky to the cis gender.
This is more of an allegation than a myth which is baseless. There are no hard facts backing this statement. A trans women is also a women and should be identified and treated as one with utmost dignity. The same applies for trans men too. This begins with something as simple as allowing them to use washrooms that belong to the gender they identify themselves with.
13. Being LGBTQ is hereditary or can pass on to next generations.
This statement is not scientifically proven. One’s sexuality and gender is exclusive to the individual and has nothing to do with heredity.
14. Someone who supports the LGBTQ or wants their upliftment has to be part of the community.
Let me bust this myth with an example. Many men throughout history have worked immensely for women empowerment and wanted the upliftment of women. Even today we find many feminists who are men, this doesn’t make them women. Similarly, a person who is supportive of the LGBTQ community doesn’t have to be part of it. It simply means they have a progressive and inclusive mindset.
In conclusion, the Kinsley report suggests that around 10% of the world’s population comprises of the LGBTQ. About 2.5 million Indians are part of the community. If being homosexual is immoral or a criminal offence, we would have to suspend such a huge population as criminals. Just because we do not understand someone or they are different from us doesn’t mean they are wrong. Our friends and peers really need our emotional support and acceptance as they themselves would be confused with their feelings and are going through a lot. The least we can do is to not isolate them or criticize their identity. Let’s develop a healthy society for our upcoming generations so that they do not go through such mental trauma.