When you’re not particularly clued up on a topic it can be difficult to discuss it. I get that. I don’t have experience of every gender and sexuality under the sun, so I can’t claim to know what it feels like. I’m not a parent so I’m not going to give you advice on bringing up your kids, nor will I lecture you on how to dress like Kim K. But what is it about homophobia that the media fail to wrap their heads around? It’s a sensitive subject, sure, making its awareness even more significant. Nobody wants to dive in at the root of the issue for fear of offending anyone and instead file the topic away for another day when a news report requires its attention.
Must we have a repeat of Pulse for homophobia to be recognised? Surely not. It isn’t just these coward acts that highlight homophobia. This discrimination is around us, every day of the god damn week.
When you’re the bisexual one in a group people want to know if you prefer one sex over the other. When you’re the ‘gay friend’ they want to know your coming out story, how your parents reacted and how sex works. Yet these types of questions are never reciprocated. I don’t ask my friends what it was like growing up straight, whether they had to announce their heterosexuality to their family or how they get on in bed.
Not only do I not want to know, but it just isn’t relevant.
When a man walked into Florida’s Pulse nightclub and killed 49 people, injuring many more along the way, suddenly the most important matters of the LGBT community were at the centre of everyone’s minds. But where was their dedication to those lives before? The media is quick to jump on the fact that these people were innocent lives enjoying themselves on a night out. They were teachers, sons and daughters, parents and so on. They had so much to live for until that one man took their lives. Yet the daily discrimination of the LGBT community has been brushed under the carpet. What about when we don’t ‘fit’ within a workplace? What about when we don’t fit society’s stereotypes of masculine and feminine? Or what about when we don’t label ourselves with a sexuality to please other people? What happens then?
I’m fortunate enough to have never been threatened, bullied or abandoned by family/friends for my sexuality. Of course I’ve had the odd comment here and there. But that’s all a part of it, right? I’ve got off easy, I should stop moaning and be grateful? Well, yes, compared to many others I’ve come charging out the closet with just a couple scuffs. But no, I shouldn’t have been expecting anything. I shouldn’t consider myself lucky for only having the odd remark thrown my way because quite rightly there should be no comments at all. Being LGBT shouldn’t come with a set of terms and conditions. Nobody has the right to say that ‘coming out’ as anything comes with repercussions and we just have to deal with it. The majority of my friends are straight, but I don’t feel as though that gives me the right to stereotype them, comment on who they sleep with or how they dress. So why should I be pigeon-holed for who I find attractive?
Why does something so tragic have to happen for people to realise that homophobia isn’t as hush hush as they think it is? Oh we go to gay bars, we feel safe there. Well why shouldn’t we feel safe everywhere? ‘Why do you have gay pride? Why isn’t there a straight pride?’ Consider yourself lucky you don’t need one. Pride is a time to come together as a community and be proud of who we are, because if we just push homophobia to the back of our minds then we’re as ignorant as those who are blissfully unaware of its existence. The LGBT community face the ignorance of discrimination daily, it doesn’t need to be on the front of newspapers and filling your Facebook newsfeed for it to exist.
I hope I live to see the day where we don’t need to ‘come out’, we don’t need to explain ourselves and we don’t need to expect anything. But for now, love will overcome all, so let us join together and prove to the world that we should never feel guilty for who we love. Love is louder than we think.