39 votes

Pride Month at Tildes: #3 - What positive changes have you seen in your lifetime?

What positive changes have you seen in your lifetime?

Last week we looked at people in the past, but this week I want us to turn the focus more towards ourselves and the experiences we've had.

I want you to think back across the span of your particular life and identify the positive changes that you've personally witnessed regarding LGBT people and causes.

Addenda:

  • These positive things can be at any level: yourself, your friend(s), your family, your community, your country, society, the world at large, etc.

  • These positive changes do not have to be "big" or political (though they certainly can be). It is perfectly fine to share your own small, personal stories. If they're positive, then they count!

  • These can come from any domain: personal life, law, entertainment, science, careers, etc.

  • I'm certainly aware that there are still many negative things that hurt us and our community out there. I don't want this topic to be something that paints a false, saccharine picture of our world, but I think it's important to take broad and open stock of situations and remind ourselves of any positives. Not only is Pride partly about hope, but focusing on positives can be a powerful tool against despair.


Event Guidelines

Everyone is welcome to participate. This includes allies! You do not need to identify as LGBT in order to join in the topics.

I will use "queer" and "LGBT" interchangeably as umbrella terms to refer to all minority sexualities and gender identities. These are intended to be explicitly inclusive.

Be kind; be gracious; listen to others; love lots.


Schedule

I won't reveal everything upfront, but with each post I will give a teaser for what's next:

June 1st: Introductions and Playlist
June 4th: Who is a historical LGBT advocate that you admire?
June 7th: What positive changes have you seen in your lifetime?
June 10th: (teaser: maybe a chance to be better understood?)
June 13th:
June 16th:
June 19th:
June 22nd:
June 25th:
June 28th:


If for whatever reason you would not like to see these topics in your feed, add pride month at tildes to your personal tag filters.

16 comments

  1. [5]
    Baeocystin
    Link
    My older brother was gay. He and his partner passed from AIDS in the early 90's. It was awful, and I miss them both. At the time, I had just started university, and I went to student health to...

    My older brother was gay. He and his partner passed from AIDS in the early 90's. It was awful, and I miss them both.

    At the time, I had just started university, and I went to student health to speak to a therapist about what was happening. I was very sad, and very lost. The therapist told me that it was my brother being punished by God for being gay, and that I should feel ashamed for missing him. This was at UC San Diego.

    I'd like to say that I stood my ground and fought back, but I was too shocked, already depressed. I just withdrew from college completely.

    Back then, if I told this story to other people, a very large portion would have agreed with the therapist. Many others would just not want me to talk about 'such things'. Maaaaybe 10% would be genuinely sympathetic.

    Nowadays, especially with the younger generations (but also with the older, which is great), almost everyone is horrified by how the therapist acted, and everyone gets why I miss my brother. Almost no one in my daily life gives a fig whether he was gay or not, they just understand the loss of family. This is a huge improvement. I wish he was here to see it.

    33 votes
    1. [2]
      DefinitelyNotAFae
      Link Parent
      On behalf of you and your brother and his partner, I want to punch your former therapist in the face and report them to every board to have their license revoked even if posthumously. Maybe...

      On behalf of you and your brother and his partner, I want to punch your former therapist in the face and report them to every board to have their license revoked even if posthumously. Maybe especially.
      I know you said that this is the expected response now but I still want to.

      22 votes
      1. Baeocystin
        Link Parent
        Thank you for giving a shit, and I mean that sincerely.

        Thank you for giving a shit, and I mean that sincerely.

        11 votes
    2. [2]
      chocobean
      Link Parent
      I echo those outraged sentiments as well and am so angry on your behalf. Maybe I won't punch them but certainly angry feral cat hissing in their directions, plus google map 0 star review them and...

      I echo those outraged sentiments as well and am so angry on your behalf. Maybe I won't punch them but certainly angry feral cat hissing in their directions, plus google map 0 star review them and the college

      It's small comforts but this day and age they'd be fired so fast you wouldn't have had time to leave the college.

      May your brother and his partner's memory be eternal.

      9 votes
      1. Baeocystin
        Link Parent
        Thank you for your kind words.

        Thank you for your kind words.

        3 votes
  2. arqalite
    Link
    The world at large feels like a heartbeat when it comes to LGBT support - a beat of hatred then a pause of compassion. However in my circle I've seen mostly support. My friends started out averse...

    The world at large feels like a heartbeat when it comes to LGBT support - a beat of hatred then a pause of compassion.

    However in my circle I've seen mostly support. My friends started out averse to gay people or outright homophobic, but have quickly changed stance after I came out, and now they have other LGBT friends (one of them at some point ended up with more queer friends than cishet ones, funnily enough).

    My mother was afraid of the concept, now she's trying her best to be supportive, even if she still doesn't comprehend same-sex attraction.

    My dad evolved from being loudly homophobic to being silently homophobic - interpret that as you will, because I still don't know what to do with that. We treat each other with respect in day-to-day interactions - at least until he gets angry then he calls everyone around him names, but there's certainly a rift between us.

    My country seems to progress, but very slowly, nothing interesting happened in the past 5 years. I'm thankful that at least my city is safe to live in as a gay person. You might get some odd looks if you do any PDA, and elderly people are generally homophobic, but otherwise I feel we're going to be okay.

    17 votes
  3. Wafik
    Link
    I'm an ally now but I wasn't always. I wasn't overtly homophobic and probably a product of my times more than anything. Anything bad or stupid was "gay" growing up with my friends in the 90s. I...

    I'm an ally now but I wasn't always. I wasn't overtly homophobic and probably a product of my times more than anything. Anything bad or stupid was "gay" growing up with my friends in the 90s. I also grew up Christian and thought homosexuals were "bad" or "gross". I could have never told you why and I lived in a small town so I definitely didn't know anyone openly homosexual.

    I don't know when exactly that changed. Probably has more to do when I started questioning my religion and eventually realized I was atheist. That caused me to question a lot of my other assumptions. I'm sure it was helped along the way by my cousin coming out as gay and then transgender and changing their name. Learning their pronouns wasn't a big deal.

    They also helped my father go from a retired Minister who gave up his marriage license because he was afraid he would be "forced to marry a gay couple" to being fully supportive of my cousin and the community. I don't know how many old, white men in their 70s/80s get progressively more liberal, but I assume it's not many.

    Now I have the luxury of it just not really affecting my life in any real way. It just seems normal now. Learning someone's pronouns is exactly as hard as learning their name and can usually be learned from context clues anyways. I think it was just a lack of education on my part. Looking back, I don't know why I ever cared.

    I'm also encouraged that the same sentiment is more or less the same around me with my wife, our families and my work. That might just be blissful ignorance, bits pretty easy to feel better about people when you can disconnect from the social discourse online.

    12 votes
  4. [2]
    patience_limited
    Link
    Growing up in the 1980's, I was part of a tiny, mutually supportive crew of non-conformists. The twenty or so of us, in a high school of thousands, were the ones who could not pass as straight,...

    Growing up in the 1980's, I was part of a tiny, mutually supportive crew of non-conformists. The twenty or so of us, in a high school of thousands, were the ones who could not pass as straight, cis, White, dull, Christian, neurotypical, etc. We didn't have much language to describe ourselves or name our solidarity. We defended and healed each other from an implacably hostile world. We could simply accept and love one another for all our quirks and variances.

    I learned to take that strength with me into the world, to find and support the lonely ones who didn't have any home for their queerness. I could recognize and support nascent rights movements for lesbians and gay people, even if their platform didn't always include people like me and my friends. But it was the advent of the Internet that let all the kinds of queer people find each other easily and shorten their journeys towards self-discovery among similar others.

    I've watched online spaces bloom with every gender, sexuality, and cognitive variation I could ever hope to imagine. I've seen a wholesale transformation of medicine and psychology in recognizing that we're not psychologically twisted and demented perverts, but rather among the normal variations of humanity. We can strive for the full spectrum of lives we choose, instead of imaginary binaries.

    Sometimes I find myself fearing that our flourishing has divided us too finely. That we've forgotten the need for solidarity and acceptance that bound us in times of greater fear, isolation, and suffering. One of my high school lesbian friends is now a ferocious TERF. One of my gay friends became first a quietly racist Log Cabin Republican, now a Trump supporter. I delight in younger people finding themselves, and worry that while they're chasing rainbows, all the other political work isn't getting done.

    12 votes
    1. boxer_dogs_dance
      Link Parent
      As an outsider from that time, I respect and appreciate this

      As an outsider from that time, I respect and appreciate this

      2 votes
  5. Acorn_CK
    (edited )
    Link
    To open, I generally identify as a cis-male, although that isn't a terribly hard line internally, my best guess is that I would probably be in the 1-1.5 range on the Kinsey scale if I'm being...

    To open, I generally identify as a cis-male, although that isn't a terribly hard line internally, my best guess is that I would probably be in the 1-1.5 range on the Kinsey scale if I'm being completely honest. I've never had a homosexual encounter, but I'm not really averse to the idea like I was 10-15 years ago (I've been in a monogamous cis-relationship for 14 years) -- and to be clear, I thought I was a little averse to the act itself, but the more I've reflected the more I've come to appreciate that it was almost entirely coming from the potential prejudice it might've created. It was 'easier' to just be cis, as far as I know.

    One of the biggest changes I've noticed, as someone that hasn't ever personally experienced any real prejudice or bigotry (I'm a WASP male): I don't feel any shame/guilt/whatever when I have the occasional thought of homosexual acts. When I was growing up, it was very common to use the term 'gay' derogatorily, as if it were something to be ashamed of. This is just from the cultural shift, I think, although I do generally associate with very liberal circles (I have multiple postgraduate degrees), which helps. I do know that there are still plenty of insane bigots in the world -- but I've also seen that there are bastions of complete acceptance, which is an ideal I've always espoused since my teenage years. And I love seeing that part of the world with respect to my children. I have 3 boys, and I know that regardless of their ultimate sexual/gender identities they will be loved, and be able to be whoever they end up being with virtually no sense of gender imposition or expectations, and with (maybe overly-optimistically) little-to-no experiences of prejudice if they don't end up cis. I don't give a fuck how they identify, as long as it makes them happy.

    9 votes
  6. Bet
    Link
    Personally, I have found the general dissemination of knowledge into the world about lgbt+ people created and controlled by lgbt+ people in real time to be one of the most profound and positively...

    Personally, I have found the general dissemination of knowledge into the world about lgbt+ people created and controlled by lgbt+ people in real time to be one of the most profound and positively impactful shifts to come about over the last few decades. Social media has definitely played a large role in facilitating this — which is its own subject — but it does allow for people both within and without the gender and sexual minorities communities to communicate to and with each other in a different, more elastic context.

    I certainly was more of a latent bigot than I currently am — because it is a matter of degrees, isn’t it? I can be a willing supporter of lgbt+ rights and still an un-self-aware bigot all at once, depending on so many things (but, believe you me, I’m working on it) — when I did not have access to the knowledge which lgbt+ persons as individuals, factions, and as a collective peripherally or directly have until I did. And, judging solely from what I have seen and understand, this ease of access to information has made a huge difference for other people, as well.

    So, ‘long live social media’, I suppose; without which, I would most likely never have sought out or even passively, accidentally found a platform on which I could take the time to read through both detractors’ and defenders’ arguments — slowly, and with a whole lot of backtracking and rumination — in order to form my own opinions.

    9 votes
  7. sparksbet
    Link
    I was raised in a super conservative fundamentalist evangelical Christian environment. And it was pretty enveloping -- I went to a private Christian school too. I don't remember when I first heard...

    I was raised in a super conservative fundamentalist evangelical Christian environment. And it was pretty enveloping -- I went to a private Christian school too. I don't remember when I first heard about gay people, but I know it was in the context of it being a sin that would get you sent to hell. We were taught that it was a choice, and I believed it the way most kids believe what literally every adult in their lives agrees on.

    When I was in high school, one of my best friends from school came out as gay. It wasn't, in retrospect, much of a shock. But I loved him as much as you can love a friend as a teen, and I was so scared for him. I believed him when he said he'd tried everything he could to not be gay, because how could I not believe my friend tearfully confessing his own experience over the vague abstract concept of what my teachers said about gay people. But I didn't want my best friend to go to hell, so I prayed every night for God to make him not gay. We remained friends, and I kept his secret even when other friends of his spread rumors throughout school. He asked not to come back to our school the next year. We hung out occasionally after that but lived too far apart for it to happen as often as I'd like. His parents tried sending him to a therapist to "fix" him, but that never panned out.

    This ended up being the straw that broke the camel's back for me and Christianity. As I told my mother (who remains a devoted fundamentalist evangelical to this day), I couldn't reconcile the idea of a good God with one who would make gay people only to damn them. Even if such a God existed, I didn't want to worship Him.

    Like a lot of people, I grew apart from my high school friends over time. When we were all in undergrad at different colleges, we only saw each other on some breaks. The last time I hung out with this friend from high school was one of those Christmas breaks in our early 20s, and he talked about how he felt we had similar experiences, growing up in that highly restrictive environment. Growing up really believing it but eventually being pushed far enough by the bigotry to leave and then seeing a whole new world open up. At the time I felt guilty because it seemed obvious to me that he'd had a harder time of it than me. But I also still thought I was cishet at that point.

    After college I moved to Europe and he moved across the US. We haven't really talked since -- he was always bad at keeping up with that sort of thing, and the increased distance didn't help. Last I heard he was working some business-y job and living with his long-term partner. Since then I've come out as both bi and trans, and now I'm married to a trans woman. If we ever got back in touch, we'd have a lot to talk about I'm sure.

    When I was back to visit my parents the last time, my mom asked about him. She asked if he was still in contact with his parents, and I honestly answered I didn't know. She said she hoped he was and that he and his parents could still have a relationship. Whether that's true or not, it's a sign that my mother's perspective has softened over time (even though she definitely still believes it's a sin). She used to only sympathize with the parents when someone got cut off from their family for being gay. It seems like a tiny thing from my end, but for me it's a huge thing. I came out to my family as nonbinary recently and told them honestly when I got top surgery, because I figured even though they'd never get it, I could trust them not to reject me for it. That trust was definitely not there back when I was in high school.

    7 votes
  8. boxer_dogs_dance
    Link
    Ally here. I remember the AIDS epidemic and the assassination of Harvey Milk among other things. I was astounded when gay marriage became legal in the US and the armed forces stopped rejecting...

    Ally here. I remember the AIDS epidemic and the assassination of Harvey Milk among other things.

    I was astounded when gay marriage became legal in the US and the armed forces stopped rejecting LGBTQ people.

    From my perspective it's a lot better, but we need to be ready to fight to defend progress.

    6 votes
  9. fietseend
    Link
    I come from a very strict religious background. Ever since breaking free from it in my early twenties, I have enjoyed learning more about LGBT causes and just getting to know people who are queer....

    I come from a very strict religious background. Ever since breaking free from it in my early twenties, I have enjoyed learning more about LGBT causes and just getting to know people who are queer. It makes me happy to see all sorts of people happy on the streets or online, instead of feeling "offended" or like something is wrong with having another sexuality, like I was taught. I'm just glad that I can appreciate people for who they are.

    6 votes
  10. CannibalisticApple
    Link
    On a personal level: I went to a K-8 Catholic school that seems to have a reputation as notably conservative even among the local Catholic schools. So I had a lot of biases regarding LGBTQ+ people...

    On a personal level: I went to a K-8 Catholic school that seems to have a reputation as notably conservative even among the local Catholic schools. So I had a lot of biases regarding LGBTQ+ people to unravel as I got older. While I was never hateful, I still got some shocks at running into it in the wild as a kid and young teen. I still remember being shocked seeing someone super casually reference being gay on a forum when I was 13 or so.

    Funnily enough, my family isn't homophobic in any fashion. In fact, my mother had a good friend who died of AIDS in the hospital when I was born. Had she known he'd died then, she says she would have given me his name as a middle name. So, all my biases came purely from my school. That probably helped me overcome them more easily.

    On a larger scale, I'm happy to see how much more open the LGBTQ+ community has become worldwide. It's been particularly great seeing it show up more and more in media. I still sometimes get pleasantly surprised to see a gay relationship in a show or a trans character in a manga that aren't LGBTQ+-centric. Casual representation of a demographic in fiction is a major milestone in my opinion, so I'm always delighted to come across examples!

    6 votes
  11. Gaywallet
    Link
    One big shift I've noticed is in media representation. When I was a kid the only view of trans folks in media I ever saw was folks who did drag (and in particular drag queens). Effeminate gay men...

    One big shift I've noticed is in media representation. When I was a kid the only view of trans folks in media I ever saw was folks who did drag (and in particular drag queens). Effeminate gay men and butch lesbians were more or less the only slices of gay that were out there. There was plenty of writing on being bi, but it was mostly erased except when it was performative for the male gaze. There was no ace presence (at best implied, and often associated with folks who were heavily neurodivergent or undesirable). Nowadays there's all kinds of depth in characters, and their gayness is not always tokenized, it's often just something as mundane as where they work or how connected they are with their family.

    I also greatly appreciate that the internet has provided a space in which folks with the less common queer identities can come together. In many places in the world it can be really tough to find a community and the world online has provided somewhere for folks to gather. Knowing that you can go online and find support and community and have discussions and learn about all sorts of identities to explore your own thoughts and feelings is an amazing resource that used to only exist in gay meccas in the world or scattered amongst books and collected writings.

    6 votes