The LGBTQ+ Community Around The World, As Told By Teenagers

I recently completed a ten month-long exchange program in Mexico, surrounded by exchange students from all over the world, who have been brought up in completely different environments with completely different values.

So, I decided to ask all of them two questions:

  1. What is the behaviour of people towards the LGBTQ+ community in your country?
  2. How do you think it is to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community in India?

Here are their answers:

Denmark – Mia Munnoch, 18

“In Denmark, especially Copenhagen, everyone is very open-minded. Everything is very accepted—you can be whoever you want to be. I’m not a part of the community myself, but I have a lot of friends who are. Of course there is still some discrimination and people who look down upon the community, but it’s very easy compared to other places around the world, I think. In other countries, I see people speculating over someone’s gender or sexuality but in Denmark, no one even bothers with that—it is what it is, you know. I’ve heard people elsewhere say things like “I want a gay best friend” or things like that but in Denmark, you can’t say that, it’s considered very offensive. Sexuality just doesn’t define a person anymore in Denmark. Outside Denmark, I’ve often heard comments that have offended me even though it’s not my place to be offended because that’s just how we’re brought up in Denmark.”

“I think there is a lot of discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in India. I heard of the first gay prince who came out in India and the backlash he received, but there must’ve been a lot of progress there because of that, I imagine.”

USA – Alia, 19

“I think the experience of being LGBTQ+ in the USA really depends on where you are. I’d say it’s a lot more accepted in the bigger cities, and there’s a lot less discrimination than in smaller towns. For example in the city where I live—a metropolitan city of about 3 million people—there, it’s pretty easy to be LGBTQ+, especially among the youth; among the older generations, I know it’s more ‘unusual’ and looked down on. But amongst people of my generation, in big cities, it’s pretty normal. I have a bunch of friends who are LGBTQ+, and most say that it’s not really a big deal, people treat them the same way. In my school, we have all-gender bathrooms that people who don’t conform to a certain gender can use. Also, when we introduce ourselves, we always introduce ourselves by saying our names and our pronouns. So, there’s a lot of things that push the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ Community and most schools have LGBTQ+ clubs, or Gender-Sexuality Alliances. But of course, in smaller towns, there have been cases of transgender people being killed, and things like that. With Trump, of course—he’s fostered a lot of hate against the community—like the law against trans people being in the military. But I would say he doesn’t have a big influence on cities like mine. Most people here aren’t really Trump supporters.”

“For India, I honestly don’t know much. I’m guessing it’s more conservative than the US, and there’s more discrimination. I’m guessing it’s not as easy to be LGBTQ+. And India, of course, does not allow gay marriage, while the USA now does.”

Brazil – Nathalia De Campos Galo, 17

“I wouldn’t say it’s easy being LGBTQ+ in Brazil, but it has gotten better in these last few years. People are now more open-minded, they’re trying to understand. This new generation seems very promising. But yes, there is discrimination. There are a lot of people that die due to homophobia. Brazil is also the country with the highest amount of murders of trans people, which is very sad. There is a lot of violence against the community, but at the same time, we have the biggest Pride Parade in the world, which is kind of contrasting.”

“I haven’t looked much into the community in India. I’ve only seen one or two LGBTQ+ Indian movies, but I think that yes, there is a lot of discrimination. I don’t know why but I think people are more religious.”

Taiwan – Bella, 19

“In Taiwan, same-sex marriage is now legal, of course. In general, among the youth, it’s not that looked down upon. For example, I went to an all-girls’ high school and a lot of the girls I knew were not straight, but it was never a problem. Sometimes, maybe, someone will comment saying “Ew, you’re a boy who likes boys” or something like that, but it’s very rare amongst the youth.”

Germany – Leander Kuwert, 16

“Being LGBTQ+ in Germany depends. I mean, it’s okay and it’s more accepted today. I don’t really personally know a lot about discrimination, but it really depends on the place where you are. Most people are accepting, or if they don’t, they don’t say it out loud. But I mean there’s Germans who are Neo-Nazis that are very, very homophobic, of course. The majority of unacceptance is also connected to being poor and lack of education but all in all, I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of discrimination, honestly. A lot of people come out without any problems at all. You can also marry the same sex. The Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Denmark are definitely doing better, but even then Germany is quite high up on the list of countries that accept LGBTQ+.”

“Honestly, I think that yes, it is difficult to be LGBTQ+ in India. I mean, I know it’s not illegal to be gay anymore since a few months ago—I heard that. But I kind of imagine that it’s seen as bad, not by every person but by a lot, I would say because it’s a religious and conservative country but I think it’s on the path to progress with the community getting more rights, which is great. It’s probably a little easier than before to be LGBTQ+ now, and I guess people may take time to adjust to these ideas.”

Poland – Martyna Zimek, 17

“In most cases in Poland, being LGBTQ+ is not considered good, thanks to our government. That’s why there’s not many people that come out. As in a lot of parts of the world, we do have Pride parades for the community. In general, though, I wouldn’t say it’s dangerous as such—it’s more about mockery than mistreatment. In my opinion, it’s hard for the religious people to accept because they have strong faith and their own ideas about family. But I think in a few more years, Poland will be more open, thanks to the new generation which is much more accepting and easy going.”

“I think it’s difficult to be LGBTQ+ in India. I consider India to be a country with deep culture, strong beliefs and conservatism. That’s why I think people in India are more disrespectful and intolerant of the community than in Europe—but after reading some articles, it seems like the government is trying to be more open and accepting, which was a big surprise for me. For example, I read that since 2018, same sex activity is now legal, so it looks like everything is going in the right way for a better change.”

Italy – Susanna Girino, 17

“In Italy, I would say it’s 90% safe to be LGBTQ+. There is a little of discrimination as some people still see it as weird, but not too much. A lot of people are coming out now and are receiving a lot of support. For example, the mayor of a city in the north is trans.”

“I think that in India it is quite difficult to be LGBTQ+ in some parts because of the culture. In my opinion, there is just a little discrimination, just like Italy.”

Mexico – Montserrat Bernal, 17

“I personally think that the LGBTQ+ community in Mexico is gaining recognition but there’s still a  lot of obstacles because Mexico’s culture is very—there’s a lot of machismo, so a lot of those beliefs are ingrained in Mexican families. Being LGBTQ+ is really off-putting in Mexico—it’s slowly evolving but there is still a lot of discrimination. It is seen as bad for some people unless the people are open-minded, so I think that people just need to change their minds about it. But Mexico is starting to pass laws, there’s a lot of Pride marches, but there’s also a lot of things against the community. So, I think it’s an ongoing process with both positive and negative moments. I think we need to start including more people and we are slowly doing it but we’re still doing it and that’s progress.”

France – Ema Chevalot, 18

“In France, I think that being gay or lesbian or bisexual is accepted more than every other place in Europe. But they don’t really accept trans people—I don’t know why. In the last five years or so, it’s starting to be more accepted but I’m very disappointed by my country because in the last year, we saw a lot of violence against the LGBTQ+ community and two years ago, it was one of the safest countries of the world for them. However, it is easy to be gay in France. I had a relationship with a girl for eight months and no one ever said anything to me, it feels very safe.”

“In India, I don’t think the LGBTQ+ community is really accepted because for me, India is very close-minded because of all the strong religious beliefs but they can progress and be more accepting, of course. I definitely think it’s easier to be gay in France than India.”

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Saachi Gupta is an LGBTQ+ activist, animal lover and the author of 'With Love, or Something Like That.' She is a strong believer in equality amongst mankind.
Saachi Gupta

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