It is June- Pride Month, and we are celebrating those in the community who are brave enough and those too scared to live their truth; to normalise the LGBTQ+ community and educate the privileged about the oppression and hatred that those who are not cis-het face. Every day people in the LGBTQ+ community fight for acknowledgement, acceptance and equal rights.
While Pride Month is a fantastic concept that is a great way to normalise the Queer Community and educate the masses, the life of someone who is not cis-het (cis-gendered, heterosexual identifying individuals) is riddled with obstacles and oppression. We owe it to our fellow human beings to acknowledge their oppression, educate ourselves and make the world a safer space.
The LGBTQ+ Community consists of-
- L- Lesbians
- G- Gays
- B- Bisexuals
- T- Transgenders
- Q- Queer/ Questioning
- +- Anyone who identifies themselves as non-binary, asexual, pansexual, etc.
Although the Supreme Court of India has decriminalised section 377, meaning that involvement with same-sex people is no longer a criminal offence, we are far away from achieving equity for the LGBTQIA+ community. They are still struggling in many ways, and they still face issues like identity crisis and prejudice. Some of the many struggles of the LGBTQ+ Community are-
Bullying And Harassment
Those who do no identify as cis-het are bullied and harassed daily in schools, workplaces, etc. People calling them names, using offensive slang, and enforcing stereotypes based on clothing and makeup choices are daily occurrences in their lives.
Hate crimes and violence against the members of the community transitions explicitly everywhere out there. The community members don’t feel safe as they feel they can be attacked anytime because of their identity.
Sexual abuse against those in the LGBTQ+ community happens more often than we think because it is not reported most of the time. Those in the community don’t report the abuse either because of the fear of their identity being revealed or shame. In most cases, especially in conservative countries, complaining to the police does more harm.
Transgender people are, unfortunately, most prone to being sexually abused. We must start changing our perception and educating officers and other officials.
Lack Of Acceptance From Family
Family is an essential aspect of every person’s life. When you face rejection from the outside world, you can at least have your family, but most people from the LGBTQ+ community are not so lucky. They are bashed and disowned when their identity is revealed. The parents refuse to accept them and even refuse to talk to them.
Housing And Accommodation
This is a pervasive problem faced by the LGBTQ+ Community. People don’t rent houses to them. They become homeless, and they have nowhere to go. In many cases, the parents oust them from their homes and disown them, leading them to the streets.
Even though many companies are changing their policies and logos and starting LGBTQ+ campaigns, they don’t hire people from the LGBTQ+ community. Neither do they contribute their profits from such campaigns to the community. This causes unemployment, financial issues and gross exploitation.
This is another thing that may seem menial issue on hearing but is a big deal for the people from the community. Not having a separate bathroom for trans people often causes problems of public humiliation and is highly unwelcoming. Especially in schools, this is another issue on which they are bullied.
Although section 377 is decriminalised still, gay marriages still have not been made legal in India. They still can’t marry and be socially and legally accepted as any other heterosexual couple in society. While several countries have begun accepting same-sex marriages as legal, a majority of the world remains unmoved.
Gay couples parent adopted children together in most countries of the world. This is because they are not allowed to adopt children legally. Despite being competent parents, stigma prevents them from adopting and bringing happiness to themselves or the child. Another critical issue that governments all over the world must tackle.
Depression And Anxiety
Unacceptance by friends and family and societal pressure are the primary reasons behind depression and anxiety in members of the LGBTQ+ community. Trauma, bullying, violence, and sexual abuse are also major contributors to anxiety and depression and other related mental health disorders in the LGBTQ+ community people.
At many places, kids and adults are sent for conversion therapy. They try to change an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity and force them to “be heterosexual” or cis-gendered using physical, psychological or spiritual methods. These camps and therapy methods are damaging to one’s mental health and can cause severe trauma. Unfortunately, while conversion therapy is banned, it still takes place in several places.
These are a few of the many struggles faced by the community. Many people refuse to come out and accept themselves because of the fear of rejection by society and their parents. They blame themselves for feeling this way. They doubt themselves and their abilities. They feel ashamed of their identity because of how others make them feel.
Whom we love, what we identify as or want to be is our personal choice, and nobody has the right to judge or question us regarding this. Not conforming to cis-het ‘standards’ set by a toxic society is not a disease that needs to be cured. It is natural and something that we’re born with. Everyone deserves to have the same rights, respect and support. We need to create a world where everyone can feel safe—A world where we can freely accept our identities without fearing the repercussions it may have.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section.