In the past decade, rights for the LGBTQIA+ community have improved greatly; however, even as we move on into a fresh decade, members of the LGBTQIA+ community still face harsh stereotypes that are coupled with gender and/or sexuality. Streotypes such as “Being trans is a mental illness”, “Lesbians hate men”, and “All bisexual people are promiscuous.” are just some of the many stereotypes that plague our society. As a gay male, I have been questioned on my sexuality due to the streotype that all gay men are afeminite and flamboyant, and I am not the only one, as millions before and after me have and will experience streotyes regarding their gender and/or sexuality. However, this does not have to be the case. We as the new generation, have the ability and opportunity to work to create a better tomorrow for all, and one way we can do this is by recognizing the stereotypes that are coupled with the LGBTQIA+ community and learning how to stop them, ensuring that no one feels they are a stereotype, but their own unique, beautiful person.
First let's look at some of the most common stereotypes that are linked with the LGBTQIA+ community. In an article by Best Life titled 11 Stereotypes People Should Stop Believing About the LGBTQ Community, author Ashley Moore helps us to understand that 21st century stereotypes, while less negative then those in the 19th and 20th centuries (many of which identified homosexuality, being transgender, etc. as a mental disoreder) streotpes are still alive. In her article, moore systematically goes through some of the most common stereotypes about the LGBTQIA+ community and helps show how they are “utterly, demonstrably false.”(Moore). One of the stereotypes in Ms. Moore’s article is “All lesbians are masculine”, and in her article, Ms. More helps us understand this stereotype and how it, like the several others she mentions, are false. While recognising that “some women who identify as lesbians are more masculine in appearance and disposition” Ms. Moore goes on to explain that the stereotype “does nothing more than incorrectly corral a group of people into a small, definable box.” Through her explanation, we learn that this stereotype persists due to humans (especialy americans) need to apply gender roles to those involved in homosexual relationsips as it is “a way to approximate sex differences”. Ms. Moore finishes off her explanation of the stereotype by falsifying it stating that “lesbians, just like every other human, come in all shapes, sizes, races, and gender expressions.” (Moore). The point made by Ms. Moore regarding the stereotype is one that can be applied to similar stereotypes within the LGBTQIA+ community as it, like so many others, are made false by the somewhat obvious fact that we as humans are all unique, and do not conform to a specific trait or ideal. For those of you that are interested in reading more of Ms. Moore’s article, I have included the link below.
Now that we have brought to light the subject of stereotypes within the LGBTQIA+ community, we must work to stamp them out, and the most effective way of doing so is talking about it. In an article by Dr. Kelly S. Meier, we are given insight on how we as a community are able to work to stop LGBTQIA+ stereotypes in schools and in the workplace. One way that Dr. Meier suggests we can solve the issue by offering training and education to help people better understand and accept members of the LGBTQIA+ community: “Training is key to helping employees and students gain understanding and empathy. For example, an activity that examines common stereotypes provides an awareness of misconceptions about the LGBT community and how misguided remarks can poison a working and learning environment. On a larger scale, instituting a Safe Zone training that teaches students and employees about hurtful language, how to intervene, when discrimination occurs and how to provide intentional support to LGBT community members signals expectations in an environment that is free of hate speech and disrespectful behavior.”(Meier). In direct correlation with Dr. Meiers, schools like mine across the country have held assemblies and discussions in which we as a community
can discuss a multitude of topics (including gender and sexuality) centering around acceptance.
I don't expect this article to create any profound movement, however, I do hope that it can help spark some clarity and lead to acceptance. If we as a community work to spread awareness, then we can work towards a better future for all. Remember: There is always the possibility of a better tomorrow, what can you do to make it a reality?