by

December 1, 2022

 

LGBTQIA+ : Respect is the Gay Agenda

The LGBTQIA+ movement has become more well known throughout America. This movement fights for more acceptance of those in the community, seeking for the right to be who they are and love however they want regardless of gender and sex. I have been passionate about this issue for a long while, especially more when I had heard that gay marriage was legal in 2015. That was when the LGBTQIA+ community gained much more support nationwide, but also much more outspoken hate nationwide. For me, there was a need to speak out for the community. As someone whose friends are all a part of the LGBTQIA+ —myself included—it became much more relevant to address the issue. I have known my own friends online whose last goodbye was when they had to go to conversion therapy, saying that their parents cannot accept that they “associate” themselves with “those” people. Friends who were (and still are) in pain because their parents said they felt uncomfortable with who they are. That should not happen, not today, not any day.

The movement has been going around in America for so long and has become so prevalent that it is impossible to ignore. As someone who grew up with social media and in a diverse part of the nation, I had already known some things about the topic before going into in-depth research. For instance, I knew most of the reasons why homophobia exists, and I knew what misunderstandings went into those reasons. There are reasons such as differing interpretations of religion, or growing up in a household that follows “traditions.” In addition, I have known of the hate crimes, the families disowning their children scenario, the discriminating work places, and the high suicide rates. But, I don’t just know of other people hating on the LGBTQIA+, but like in every group, there are those that create hate inside the community. I know that a handful of the LGBTQIA+ blame an entire religion for hate, which is also not right. There is even phobia in the community. The most prevalent is biphobia and ace erasure, in which they are always put into the spotlight as people who “cannot make up their minds” or “special.” Those is just the things that I had known from common knowledge and not from research.

As I went into the research, I began by going to LGBTQIA+ statistics. The percentage of people in America who are LGBT in 2017 was a lot smaller than I thought. However, it is ever growing in percentage as each year goes, and that percentage is growing exponentially. This is not counting those who have yet to come out of the closet or those who have not discovered themselves yet. Another thing is, I did not know that bisexuals are more likely to be sexually harassed than lesbians, gays, and heterosexuals. I compiled all of the information into the slides and combined it with all of the information I knew (and confirmed through research).

 

 


Discrimination Against The LGBTQ community

 

 Discrimination against the  LGBTQ community

 

Did you know that “80% of gay and lesbian youth report severe social isolation.”(11 facts about LGBTQ life in America) Based on interviews and research it is clear that without support coming out can be a challenge for LGBTQ youth but when supported coming out can be empowering.

Firstly, if not supported coming out can be traumatic for LGBTQ youth and can lead to depression. This is important because the reason to why so many LGBTQ youth experience severe isolation is because they are being discriminated by their own peers and community members. I had the pleasure of going around and getting peoples personal opinion. I came across Oakland community members. We talked about the ways the LGBTQ community has been discriminated and what might be the cause for so many LGBTQ members to feel isolated and encapsulated. My interviewees name is Berenice Gutierrez, She stated, “I believe that from what I know, Oakland isn’t the safest place for LGBTQ community members to be because a lot of people when seeing LGBTQ members just being themselves they tend to judge quickly. I have seen cases in which LGBTQ members have been verbally and physically abused. I believe that this mistreatment is unfair because they have not brought any harm to the community” (Gutierrez). This matters because this mistreatment has caused emotional harm to the LGBTQ community. I would have to strongly agree with her statement, the LGBTQ community is not at fault for the abuse that they receive they just want to express who they believe they are. This supports my assertion about how coming out can become a challenge, the LGBTQ community is a really oppressed group and so much negative attention has been brought to them. This can cause them to feel ashamed of coming out and figure out what their likings are. Another example comes from the writer Dominique Mosbergen. She wrote an article about the LGBTQ community and asexual community. She collected people’s opinion on the LGBTQ community accepting Asexual people. Something that caught my eye was when one of the people mentioned in the article by the name of David Jay stated, “Gay people have really had it the hardest of all. From verbal abuse to being killed, they’ve been put under so much fire for expressing their sexuality. They’ve suffered a lot, they’ve paved the way”(Jay).The reason I chose to add this was because this proves that LGBTQ members have been oppressed for a long time and are forced to deal with the mistreatment. This supports my claim because it shows how a person who identifies as LGBTQ are disrespected and have had to cope on their own.

However, when supported the coming out experience can be positive. With the help of our community we can create a safe place. When it comes to coming out, members of the LGBTQ community may feel ashamed or scared of saying anything. I believe that as a community we can work to create a safe place for them to be able to express who they want to be without being labeled with so many different disrespectful assumptions.I have stated the struggles that make coming out a challenge. This is information has come from my personal opinion and sources that have helped me prove the oppression against the LGBTQ community. But I strongly believe that coming out can become an enlightening experience. Some may say that the LGBTQ community just want attention and that they have the support that they need. Although this mindset is not positive, I would still have to agree that Oakland has become a better and more supportive community. I believe that it all comes down to what part of Oakland LGBTQ members live in. Not many places are supportive of those who are involved with the LGBTQ community sometimes they might be considered homophobic.( Being  homophobic means that a person show dislike towards or don’t accept homosexual people). As I was initially stating I believe Oakland can be a supportive place. I want to introduce another interviewee her name is Victoria Tran. She is one close friend of mine who supports the LGBTQ community. As the other interview I asked for her thoughts on the LGBTQ community and if Oakland was a safe place for them to be. Tran stated, “ That depends on what part of Oakland they are in. But Oakland has become very supportive of the LGBTQ community. There is still bullying so not everything is sunshine and rainbows here but there will always be someone who will give support of a member of the LGBTQ community in need”(Tran). This is significant because just as I said, yes there is discrimination and LGBTQ members get stigmatized but when supporters take the time to help out these members it can make things easier for those who struggle coming out. This also proves that Oakland can be a safe place and can be a place where people can stay and count on somebody. This is important because if members are being supported it can help them get rid of their negative mindset and it can help them get over that pessimism some people might carry. Another piece of evidence comes from an article titled “Oakland opens first LGBTQ community center” in this article is information about as it is said in the title the opening of a new community center for LGBTQ youth in Oakland. Volunteers for this community center are planning on getting donations tobe able to help the LGBTQ community. One of the volunteers by the name of Jeff Myers stated, “This is a big moment for us!.Having a central space is critical, not just to come together, but a place to find support and resources during times of crisis” (Myers).This is important because Oakland has now created a safe place for LGBTQ members in need. This proves that Oakland has changed and it can be the supportive and caring community it should be. With this type of help members can finally come out of their shell and positively come out. As a member of the LGBTQ community myself I believe that this change will be great for not only the LGBTQ community on its own but the Oakland community as a whole.

In conclusion, I understand everyone is entitled to their own opinion and people will disagree with my statement but I believe that when the LGBTQ community is supported their coming out experience can become a powerful and positive experience. Although I know I can’t change the mind of those who think the opposite I hope to open up their eyes to the kind of abuse the LGBTQ community has gone through. I believe that the changes that have been and will be happening will bring us together as a community and we can create a safe place not only for the LGBTQ community but for everyone is the Oakland community.

Annotated Bibliography

(sources written below)

https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-lgbtq-life-america

“Facts About Suicide – The Trevor Project.” The Trevor Project, 2017, www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/preventing-suicide/facts-about-suicide/.

This article gives out information about suicide among the LGBTQ community. I believe this is a credible source because this information is to give out awareness about the percentages on the feelings of LGBTQ members. this is a project you can join if you are a member of the LGBTQ community and are in need the article made sure to cite the info they have gave out as well.

 

Gutierrez, Berenice. “LGBTQ community interview.” 24 Dec. 2017.

In this interview I got the opinion of an Oakland community member about hoe the LGBTQ community in Oakland are treated. We discussed about the oppression against the LGBTQ community and the changes Oakland has made for the LGBTQ community over the years.

 

Mosbergen, Dominique. “LGBT, Asexual Communities Clash Over Ace Inclusion.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 June 2013, www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/21/lgbt-asexual_n_3385530.html.

In this article the author collected Info and opinions from different people about the LGBTQ community accepting Asexual members. Some of what was written in this article caught my attention and most statements were relevant. This source is credible because it doesn’t just include one persons opinion and it was recently updated which tells me that the author has brought in new ideas .

 

“Oakland opens first LGBTQ Community Center.” LGBT Weekly, Steve Lee, 2 Aug. 2017, lgbtweekly.com/2017/08/02/Oakland-opens-first-lgbt-community-center/.

This article shared information about the First community center for LGBTQ folks in Oakland. This source is credible because it is a source so that LGBTQ members are aware of this new center that they now have access to. The makers of the now community center are making sure that the LGBTQ community have a safe place to go to when in crisis.

 

Tran, Victoria. “LGBTQ community interview.” 23 Dec. 2017.

In this interview we talked about the positive side of support from Oakland to LGBTQ community. I believe that this interview is helpful because Victoria Tran has been a friend of mine for a long time and is a person who is open about her opinion. She is a supporter of the LGBTQ community.

 


Mission to Bring the LGBT+ Community Home

Here at Out of the Closet into the Home we focus on LGBT+ youth who have become homeless due to their identity. Of the 7% of youth in America that are homeless, 40% of them are homeless due to their sexuality and identity. This number is alarming and has prompted us try and save some of those lives. At our LGBT+ home we try and meet the needs of as many who have been abandoned by their families by providing the following services: suicide prevention hotline, housing for homeless LGBT+ youth, and resources for career building and future housing. We understand that being LGBT+ is not a choice and as a result we offer the option of counseling sessions for youth and their loved ones to reconnect and understand each other. A majority of the LGBT+ homeless youth become homeless under the misconception that they have a choice. These individuals do not and as a result struggle with many issues with identity that can lead to mental health issues. This is why we have our hotline. It can be a dark time for these youths who have been abandoned because of who they are. It creates a self-image that can lead one to feel helpless, hopeless, and inferior. It is important that we open our hearts and our doors to these individuals and remind them they are worth and can live successful lives. As youth contacts us and come to our home, we hope to counsel them so they can come to recognize and accept who they are and flourish.  We value their lives now we need them to as well. Its a hard world out there for these young individuals and they need to be loved and supported for who they are. If their families have failed, maybe we can show them the way to open their hearts, if we can’t, certainly we can lend a hand to better these young LGBT+ lives.

 

Annotations of resources for this mission statement here.


Thought You May Like To Know

Dear past-self,

I’m sorry you feel the way you do right now, but everything will be fine. I’d like to tell you how it went, felt, and worked out. From when I am sending this letter to you from you are very happy living at home with you’re beautiful girlfriend, and yes the same one. When you told you sisters you were pan-sexual they accepted you right away, in fact it was a little funny. Laurel simply stated, “I know,” and then it was over things continued as normal. Molly was the same saying she figured as much and was excited for the both of you. I know that right now you are nervous, but trust me you are for no reason we have yet to have a bad reaction from anyone yet and its been 5 years. Now, when we told Mom she was upset we waited as long as we did, so if you want to save us some grief I’d tell her right away. She was only upset because she thought we could trust her, being pan-sexual however? Not a problem at all, again she thought you were dating Holly 2 years before you were. Dad got a little hairy and awkward, but there was no yelling and now the jokes we have are fun and lighthearted. Things get so much better from where you are. You are going to feel amazing when you finish telling people. You will become more self-confident and sure in yourself, your feelings, and honestly, life in general gets better. You no longer have to lie like you hate doing and you will have and be able to openly celebrate our  amazing girlfriend. Things will go how you would logically expect so please take my advice, tell anxiety to take a hike your family and friends love you, so let them love the real you.

Love,

Your out future self. <3


Coming Out Pansexual

 

Transcript:

I didn’t have the most exciting coming out story, because a lot of my friends and family were really open minded. So I guess I’ll talk a little about coming out. You know it’s a very personal and unique experience for every person that goes through this. The fact that you’re different in this way is so beautiful and great and the fact that you have to tell someone you care about about this and they may not be accepting is so terrifying. Everyone assumes you are the way the majority is, straight, and for some families and friends that fine and it’s celebrated and for others it’s a huge issue with things such as religion. For me, I was lucky and at this point I’ll tell y’all why.

 

So, I grew up in a very conservative part of New Jersey and went to a religious school when I was young before switching to public schools. In any case I didn’t really realize they way I felt for a long time I think I was about 16 when I realized I was pansexual. What took me so long really came down to my environment when I was young and the fact that I wasn’t really looking for a relationship I was kind of a total nerd and figured well young relationships almost never last. Well, that changed when my best friend in the world told me she was bisexual. At first like I thought “that’s an option” (Of Course I know it’s not a choice at this juncture). But, anyway, after that some time went by and she asked me out, not once, not twice, but three times. The reason she kept trying was because I was just unsure I never really said no I would always be like I don’t know I need to focus on school and things like that, but really I was just coming to the realization that I really really liked her. Eventually I couldn’t fight the way I was feeling so I texted her and was like I think I’m ready to try this let’s start dating. Now, let me tell you the past five years have been amazing and are still going strong. So, in a way this was the first time I came out to anyone and it kind of felt like I was to myself as well in a way. Not too super long after I told my younger sister and of course she was super excited saying “Oh I knew you two were!” things like that and it made me feel good, but still nervous to tell other people. After that I told many of my friends and that became so easy that to be honest I don’t even remember how it went it was more like a regular conversation I guess. Kind of like “hey, I’m pansexual and this is my girlfriend,” they were totally on board! Once I had built up the courage I actually had my younger sister tell my mom. Bad Idea, my mom was pissed, but not for the reason you think. She was upset that I’d hide such a big part of myself from her she thought I could trust her. It was a relief, but also a little upsetting. I remember going to her room and she was so upset I didn’t tell her that she was crying. I knocked on the door and she answered with a stern  “yes?” I was like, “I’m dating Holly,” and I still remember her face as she said, “Ok? And,” I wasn’t sure what to say, I guess I should have said sorry I wasn’t the one to tell you and that I was just scared. I’m not entirely sure that would have made it better though. Then once my step-dad came home my mom sat us all down and made me come out to him. I remember her being like “embrace it say it!” I know she meant well, but it was so scaring! It went well though he gave me a hug and told me he still loved me and was proud it made me feel really good. Now they’re very excited for me and love my girlfriend to pieces they’re all so funny when they talk to each other.

 

This left me with the last person I had to tell. My Dad. He tends to be more conservative and we butt-heads a little when talking politics and things like that. Anyway, I remember psyching myself up all day to tell him with my brother-in-law, older sister, and girlfriend all walking me through scenarios and how they were there for me if he was mad and all that. Well, the time came around for me to tell him and as he pulls up to the house getting back from work my girlfriends mom comes to pick her up like call her like “okay I’m here to get you,”. I was devastated she was leaving, but I didn’t really have time to panic about it anyway because my dad was walking up the stairs to the house! When he got in a basically just blurted it out. I couldn’t take it anymore and he just sat down at the table and said nothing while my sister, brother-in-law, and myself just looked at him. Then he said, “what do you want me to say, why are you all looking at me?” my sister explained why we were all concerned because at that point my mind and soul were essentially used up. After that he didn’t say anything and things continued as normal, but felt really weird. He just kind of ignored it for three years before he started feeling comfortable enough to joke with us about it. Now he feel comfortable talking about and acknowledging it. I’m happy I had such luck with my family, because for many it isn’t this easy. I still have people I haven’t explicitly told, but at this point if they don’t know they’re in denial because we are extremely open about it now.

 

After all of this I’ve learned to be more comfortable with who I am. I don’t feel like I have to hide and it’s freeing to have a sense of yourself and to be comfortable with it. Before all of this I just felt weird I didn’t even realize this was a thing so feeling the way I did was confusing and I assumed it was wrong even though no-one told me it was. Loving who you are and who you love is freeing. It helps you to open up, build self-confidence, and grow as a person. I hope my story helps someone else out there struggling!


Being a Woman in Love with a Woman

Here is my “Coming Out” story! Please listen and included is a transcript for those who need it!

(the picture above is my girlfriend and the love of my life Nicole (on the right) and myself (on the left))

Hello everyone. My name is Whitney Langston. I am 21 years young and I’m in my fourth year at Michigan State University studying anthropology. I am really open about my sexuality and honestly, for some reason, I really love talking about being a lesbian and being in love with my girlfriend. But here’s my coming out story…

My coming out story starts when I as about five years old. My mom left my dad for a woman, again when I was about five and my sister, my younger sister, was about three. As she came out as a lesbian to my family, everyone thought, even though I was really little, that I was going to become a lesbian because she was. When I was in the sixth grade, I started experimenting with my sexuality and discovered I liked both men and women. My first girlfriend, Morggan, who was my girlfriend from my experimentation, her and I dated for about a year. And then after we broke up, I seemed to be more into men for some reason. I just really wasn’t into women that much. As puberty went on, I dated a few more women, here and there, but again I was always more into men. That is until I met my now girlfriend and the love of my life, Nicole. Nicole and I have quite a bit of history but being with her made me realize I am no longer attracted to men. I don’t know what changed in me, but there was a point when we started dating where the thought of being intimate with a man made me want to puke. Like, I literally just every time I saw pictures of a man in an intimate way, I just wanted to vomit. In coming out to my family about that, my sister especially, thinks it’s a phase and thinks that if Nicole and I break up I’ll be back to men in a second, but I told her it’s so different than it was in the past. I have talked to a lot of people about it and what might have happened and they said maybe it just took the right woman to make me realize my true sexuality but honestly, I just don’t know. All I know is that I’m a lesbian. I am a full-on lesbian.

As far as my acceptance in my family goes, when I came out as a full lesbian with my girlfriend Nicole, I think everyone was more surprised because I have always been so boy crazy, in high school and even in middle school. I’m sure because I was always boy crazy that everybody saw me ending up with a man and so I think it might have come as a bit of a surprise to see me really fall in love with a woman. I really, though, haven’t had any issue with my family and me being a lesbian. I will admit something I do find is that it’s a little bit awkward when I go to family events and Nicole’s there. I really kind of feel like I don’t know how to be myself around my family, especially since usually when I am around my family it’s around kids. And parents are really weird about their kids learning about that kind of lifestyle but I mean there are…the two people in my life that I can really be myself around is my mom and my best friend Alicia. Obviously, since my mom came out as a lesbian and left my dad for a woman, she is super like accepting to anything and my best friend is my best friend. She obviously loves me for me. So, Nicole and I are just free to be our handsy, romantic selves when we are together. One thing I also did notice in my family when I came out as a lesbian was that my grandma and grandpa had a little bit of a hard time adjusting. My grandma used to call my girlfriend my “friend”. So, whenever I would talk about her, she’d say “Oh you’re going to see your friend this weekend?” And if she was talking to like one of my aunts or uncles, she’d say something like, “Oh Whitney and her friend are coming to the party”, or something like that. But, eventually she came around to accepting the fact that Nicole is my romantic partner, she is my girlfriend and she now calls her my girlfriend, so… But other than that, everything has been fine. I really haven’t had any issues.

But, that is all I have for you guys. That is my coming out story. I would love to hear all of you guy’s coming out stories. So please feel free to comment about your coming out story.

Thank you, guys, for listening!

https://www.youthvoices.live/tag/coming-out/