Most of us have been raised with pretty simplistic ideas about sex and gender. Namely, that there are two sexes, male and female, and that they align with two genders, man and woman. A person has the freedom to decide anything in terms of religion, occupation, education and gender according to their choice but sometimes we do not give the adequate space to the people where they can be who they are or want to be or discover and truly express how they actually feel. Sexuality is a spectrum and we should explore it. Everybody is different but people around us create a lot of myths about the individuals who want to explore anything outside the basic socially approved gender affiliations which are restricted to masculine and feminine. Same goes for experimenting or coming out of the closet regarding our sexual preferences.
‘It takes no compromise to give people their rights….. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression’ this quote actually says a lot of things about our society. We should give equal opportunities to all the people who are interested in exploring the different aspects related to the sexual orientation and decides to identify themselves as gay, bisexual, transgender or anything which makes them happy. No one should have to hide their reality, rather it should be celebrated.
There are several myths that surround the subject of sexual orientation. Some of them are listed below:
Myth: People from the LGBTQ+ commmunity can be identified by certain mannerisms or physical characteristics.
Fact: We are all different from each other. We all are unique and beautiful in our ways but judging someone based on their sexual preference or orientation is completely baseless because we all are different from each other.
Myth: According to a certain cluster of people, it is harmful for children to have LGBTQ+ teachers as their role model.
Fact: Children actually need teachers who provide adequate education and a positive environment to them. Children must be taught he concept of inclusion and equality. A role model inspires us to be successful and happy in our lives so a gender based identity or a certain sexual orientation does not play any role here. In fact, studies have shown that academic institutes with members from the community provide a more holistic environment for young learners.
Myth: Only lesbians, gays and bisexuals are attracted to people of their own sex.
Fact: According to recent studies it is proved that people have deep feelings, fantasies and attraction for others. Homosexuals and heterosexuals may have a variety of experiences with both genders.
Myth: Gender and sex are the same thing.
Fact : Historically, the terms “sex” and “gender” have been used interchangeably, but their uses are becoming increasingly distinct, and it is important to understand the differences between the two. In general terms, “sex” refers to the biological differences between males and females, such as the genitalia and genetic differences. “Gender” is more difficult to define, but it can refer to the role of a male or female in society, known as a gender role, or an individual’s concept of themselves, or gender identity. Sometimes, a person’s genetically assigned sex does not line up with their gender identity. These individuals might refer to themselves as transgender, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming.
Myth: People belonging to the LGBTQ+ community have a distinct lifestyle.
Fact: People belonging to this community can be single, dating or married. They can have relationships or children. They are doctors, writers, sportspeople, prostitutes, truck drivers. They live with their families, friends and siblings. They do not have a different lifestyle. They live in the same society that we do and have a normal life.
Myth: Unnatural upbringing or porn is what causes homosexuality and bisexuality.
Fact: Sexual orientation is a natural state of being. Homosexuality is not something that can be taught. It’s difficult to “convert” someone to homosexuality. Treating everybody with respect, acceptance and love is essential. You should understand that society may take time to accept the LGBTQ+ community but you can start the change by involving yourself in the activities which can be helpful for them and being an ally in case you’re a heterosexual individual.
Tips for helping the community:
Listen to the LGBTQ youth. Start listening to the concerns of the youth and understanding their problems. We cannot provide solutions every time but listening to someone widens your knowledge on the subject and helps the affected person feel better.
Treat them with kindness and respect. Respect and kindness are the basic values that we must imbibe in our behaviour and extend to every individual irrespective of whether of our differences. Differences should be celebrated, not discirimnated against.
Give them a safe place. You should give space to the people around you where they can be whatever they want. Providing a safe environment will encourage them to not doubt themselves or have low self-esteem as a result of the stigmatization that surrounds the idea of belonging to the LGBTQ+ community.
Take appropriate actions to create a protective space. Whenever you notice some wrong things happening around, you should address it confidently and take actions for safety of others.
Stay informed. You can read books, articles and newspapers to stay informed about the situation of the community so that you help it in the best possible way. Learn to unlearn about your biases.
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