Happy Pride Month everybody! Pride Month is not only a time to celebrate within the queer community, but a time to reflect on what still needs to change. Believe me, things are not perfect out there. In many places, not even close. Not all change needs to come from the outside though.
This kinda started while I was reading volume 3 of Love Me For Who I Am. In this particular volume, the nonbinary lead, Mogumo, comes to a realisation: if they simply explain their gender to people, they do understand. Now, that’s a pretty idealised message. It’s a world I’d love to live in, for sure. We aren’t there yet though.
The thing is, there’s a lot of hate out there. And it’s not just from people who aren’t part of the LGBTQ+ community. A little while back, I joined a social media group for LGBTQ+ people. Recently, someone posted a question: “why does the term pansexual exist if there are only two sexes?”
Now, initially, the poster painted the question up as simply wanting to be educated on the matter. He was given a lot of similar answers too. The problem was, he clearly didn’t want to be educated, as he put it. What he wanted was to put his own viewpoint across. A lot of people pointed out there are studies showing that there are more than two sexes, but he wasn’t convinced. Intersex people were mentioned but he stated that there weren’t enough of them to warrant giving them their own sex indicator, despite a handful of countries already doing this. Nonbinary and genderfluid people were attention seekers, making up terms as they go, and pansexual people were the same.
Several others joined in to express similar views, passing it all off as them being allowed to have an opinion. Apparently, we’re all just muddying the waters and making things harder for other people to understand. Worst of all, it isn’t the first time I’ve seen such things coming up in the group. Needless to say, I left the group.
This really isn’t new, either. I’ve seen a lot of gay people proclaim bisexual people as simply being in denial about being gay. Recently, chunks of the community were singling out trans people and denying their gender. Now, the newer terms are under fire. Much like how fandoms have their darker side, so do other communities. I get that people can sometimes find newer terms confusing. We all do. The trick is to listen and learn, and not be so disrespectful.
There are plenty of people who do just that, though. I started a new job in January. Normally, I take my time about coming out as pansexual, largely because I’ve had a few bad experiences and so I like to get an idea of what I’m likely facing if I do. I never previously came out as genderfluid at work. That was entirely due to the reactions like in the Facebook group. Then, a call went out for articles about LGBTQ+ experiences for a diversity event. I decided to out myself. So, I wrote an article about how I came to understand myself. I outed myself as both pansexual and genderfluid. It was met with unanimous positivity by my colleagues. I also outed myself to some other friends and was met with the same positivity.
The point here is that not everyone, both inside and outside the LGBTQ+ community, is nice. Many people are though. We may not be living in the idealised world that Mogumo seemed to be in in volume 3 of Love Me For Who I Am, but we can get there. All we need to do is to try to be understanding. And, of course, be kind, everyone.