Our community has come a long way. Though the path to equality is yet to be taken by most countries, sexuality and gender have never been explored to such extent leading to a broader acknowledgement of differences. But as most of us within the community acknowledge and value these differences as a part of accepting people for who they truly are, some of us have failed to do so due to our lack of knowledge about a particular orientation or gender or how much small distinction of labels can matter to people.
There’s no doubt that a lot of us go through a whole process of accepting who we are. Whether it’s saying the truth out loud to ourselves or just figuring out which label fits us the best or doesn’t. It’s safe to say that all of us understand what that can feel like. Even if we are surrounded by conservative people or not. Speaking the truth to ourselves first and foremost is the most important. The sad part of all this is that even when we all know what we possibly experience going through this journey, a few of us still manage to view someone else’s definition of themselves as less legitimate.
Being an outcast in our own community, a place where we expected the level of acceptance that we never got from the rest. The most discernible ignorance of sexualities such as – bisexuality, pansexuality, asexuality; to name a few. And the most horrifying of it all is our lack of knowledge about gender as a spectrum. For instance, some people may still be confused about the difference between bisexuality and pansexuality, where rather than reading up about it some would just claim it as being the same thing but the differences matter to some. In the case of gender, the spectrum is definitely very vast. From binary and non-binary genders to demi boy/girl and I’m sure we’ll see some new labels in the future for people with more different identities and what feels more comfortable to them. I’ve personally seen a lot of people within the community discriminate them as a ‘non-existent’ gender or disrespecting the pronouns they prefer. This doesn’t only end at disrespecting others identities but it goes on to other assumptions such as bisexual are prone to cheat or they must have STDs. Or how some people believe that there is no such thing as asexuality, reasoning that asexuals might have “not met the right person yet”.
It’s not only the disregard of differences we face but also some stereotypes attached to them. The discrimination in our community is purely happening due to the lack of knowledge and lack of respect for people that are different than you. As broad as the horizon of gender and sexuality is, we can never truly stop learning about them. Rather than assuming that we know about what gender and sexuality are to someone, we should respect them enough to speak their truth. We have to keep an open mind that no matter what labels people define themselves with, their personalities are different, they are different, and therefore what their sexuality and gender’s definition is to them is also different from other even if they use the same labels.
This community has given me a lot, and I am grateful for that. Being in this community I’ve met some of the most liberated minds. It’s fascinating to see people in this community express themselves proudly for whoever they are. But it is our responsibility to call out the people in this community who have harmed others in any way, who have not faced our differences, who have forced others to do anything regarding their sexuality or gender, who have used being a part of this community to gain sympathy and threaten others, and much more that I still might not be aware of. We have not struggled so much to be defamed because of them. The world is far from seeing and treating everyone without prejudice regardless of their identity, and very quick to stereotype those who are different, and instances like these, only harm our community and how it’s seen in the long run. Our community is manifold, but the way it is diverse in terms of different expressive identities it is also different in terms of human nature towards others which has great tendencies of being negative. It’s only when we acknowledge the negative adversities of our community that we can make space for all of us together and make this a truly safe space.