37 votes

Pride Month at Tildes: #4 - What's something you wish more people understood?

What's something you wish more people understood?

What are the common (or not so common) misconceptions you have to live underneath?

What are the parts of your experience that don't seem to be widely portrayed/known?

What do you wish more people understood because genuinely understanding that could genuinely help them too?

Addenda:

  • This does not have to be strictly factual. It can be based in experiences and beliefs.

  • It can be based in yourself, in a larger identity that you share with others, or something else entirely.

  • Try to avoid any responses that include a spite for other people's ignorance. Center them instead in the earnest desire to be both truthful and known. (Write your response for today's lucky 10,000 rather than today's bigots.)


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: What's something you wish more people understood?
June 13th: (teaser: a chance to understand more)
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.

22 comments

  1. kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    So, this is something that took me far too long to realize and that I wish someone had sat me down and told me way back when I was young and confused and anxious and terrified. Here's the idea:...
    • Exemplary

    So, this is something that took me far too long to realize and that I wish someone had sat me down and told me way back when I was young and confused and anxious and terrified.

    Here's the idea: support for who you are is not logical, conditional, or transactional.

    When I was first coming out and had joined a tiny little traumatized community of queer people, it made sense that we supported each other. There were very few of us and we experienced extreme hatred and prejudice, so of course we'd prop each other up and be there for one another. It made sense given our situation. It was logical.

    As I came further out, to people who weren't my close friends or queer themselves, I developed a sense that other people's support was dependent on my actions. I had come out as gay, but if I stayed "manly enough" then I was "okay" -- not like those femme queens who they would despise, right?. I saw their support as conditional.

    I also feared that some people would have a problem with me, so I worked really hard to counterbalance that. I spent years of my life trying to be the best son and student I possibly could for my parents, for example, because I thought maybe doing good there would offset their disappointment and judgment when I finally did come out. This was my attempt at transactional support.

    A funny thing happened though:

    I kept encountering people who supported me with, quite bafflingly, absolutely no motive. They just... did. Without question.

    For a while (way too long) I disbelieved that this was even possible. In fact, I was outright suspicious of it. I thought there was always some additional subtext lurking under the surface. That straight girl at our queer meeting must have a lesbian sister or something, so it makes sense she'd support us. That straight guy who's cool with me being gay must be thinking I can help him pick up women.

    This is a feeling that took an unbelievably long time to shake. In some ways it hasn't left me. Despite all the progress that has been made, sometimes, when I meet people and they aren't queerphobic but seem like the type of person that might be, I still hear a voice in the back of my head, asking suspiciously "so, what's in it for them?"

    The way I shook the feeling (mostly) off was through the incredible work of allies.

    A lot of times, especially recently, I feel like allies get a bad rap. They get more criticism than praise, and they also get a lot of gatekeepy comments letting them know to tread lightly because they're on someone else's turf.

    I don't like this angle because it fundamentally undermines what made allyship so powerful for me in the first place. I was so used to feeling like I was standing on someone else's turf as a queer outsider that when someone said something as simple as "no, you belong here too" I was literally unable to take that statement at face value. The power in what they were doing was showing me not that I was allowed to stand on "their" turf but that it was "our" turf to begin with. From their perspective, I had every right to be there. Why wouldn't I?

    Of course, queer people gave me these messages as well, but it was too easy for me to dismiss them under the "logical" caveat. Of course they'd support me. Duh. Of course they'd see this as "our" turf. We were the misfits clinging together for support and trying to stake any sort of claim in this hostile world.

    It was the support of the allies that I couldn't square and couldn't make sense of. It didn't fit my framework. I thought support for people like me had to be a consequence of something. And when I had no proof of that something I projected it onto them anyway. Slowly though, over time, and through countless examples of support from allies, I came to realize that some of them genuinely did support queer people simply because they did.

    This was transformative for me.

    One of the first books I ever read that touched upon queerness -- pretty much my first intersection of queerness and media representation at all -- was Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In it, there's a line that says "We accept the love we think we deserve."

    I read that line then, but it wasn't until many years later that I learned to appreciate its wisdom. It helped me understand everything I went through -- literal years of an unmoored sense of self and place in this world.

    I didn't think people could support me without an ulterior motive because I didn't think I was worth something without reason.

    More succinctly: I thought that I didn't deserve love, and so I couldn't accept it from others.

    But here's the truth of the matter, and something I hope people take to heart, especially those of you who are struggling to feel like you have a place in this world.

    Love for who you are can be (and is) given freely.

    Not always, and not from everyone, but this is absolutely, 100% true for some people, and that's what matters. There are people in your corner. There are people out there saying "this is your turf too."

    Do I have my reasons for supporting the queer community? Yes, of course. I'm part of this community.

    Do I get something out of supporting the queer community? Yes, of course. It makes me feel fulfilled and happy.

    But are either of these why I support the queer community? Absolutely not.

    I support the queer community because they are worthy of support. I support you, whoever you are, because you are worthy of support. That's it. Full stop. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    No matter who is reading this; no matter how you feel or how you identify -- even if you're not sure yet who you are; even if you're not sure if you'll ever be sure; even if the world has told you over and over again that you are not valid; even if you're hiding who you are because bringing the truth to the surface is too painful to bear -- please know that I support you.

    Above all else, thought, please know that you are worthy of love -- not because of who you are or what you do or what people might be able to get from you -- but you are worthy of love because you are. That's it. And that's all you need to do. Just be.

    That's what I hope more people can come to understand. It was truly life-changing for me. I hope it can help others too.

    25 votes
  2. worldasis
    Link
    Me being in a "hetero" relationship at a given point in time does not erase the fact of my queernes.

    Me being in a "hetero" relationship at a given point in time does not erase the fact of my queernes.

    34 votes
  3. Lapbunny
    Link
    Having "known all along" that you were queer is not the only valid way to figure it out. If you change your mind, it's OK. If it doesn't fit you like you thought, or some other label or method...

    Having "known all along" that you were queer is not the only valid way to figure it out.

    If you change your mind, it's OK. If it doesn't fit you like you thought, or some other label or method works better, that's fine - go for it. When I came out, a friend said the latter to me and it really made an impression. So... Whoever's reading this, if you change your mind, it's OK.

    These are as much for queer people as for everyone else. There's so much underhanded gatekeeping about validity and fearmongering about detransitioning that just does not hold up when you stop giving a shit about other people's opinions.

    23 votes
  4. [2]
    arqalite
    Link
    Just because I'm a man attracted to men, doesn't mean I'm attracted to all men. I've seen guys get uncomfortable after I came out as gay because they thought I was going to hit on them. No, I'm...

    Just because I'm a man attracted to men, doesn't mean I'm attracted to all men.

    I've seen guys get uncomfortable after I came out as gay because they thought I was going to hit on them. No, I'm not gonna hit on you, you're not my type anyway. Of course, someone got offended when I said that to them - because you gotta be attracted to them, right? There's no way you could find them unattractive, right?

    And even if I thought you were the hottest thing alive, I'm civilized enough to not make unsolicited advances on people.

    To me, it feels like covert homophobia - you're gay, so you must be a sexual deviant demon who wants to fuck anything that moves, so don't hit on me.

    It hasn't happened that often, but still.

    (This is very much the same kind of people that think a straight guy and a straight girl can't be friends, because of course the guy is secretly hoping to fuck her someday, right?)

    23 votes
    1. Abdoanmes
      Link Parent
      I am attracted to only certain people (all genders) and it's a combo of personality and physical traits. I've met people who I am physically attracted that quickly become unattractive when they...

      I am attracted to only certain people (all genders) and it's a combo of personality and physical traits. I've met people who I am physically attracted that quickly become unattractive when they open their mouth. The opposite is true, when I get to know someone their energy can grow my attraction and connection.

      I've experienced what you said about people getting mad. Sometimes I feel bad because deep down they just want to know they are wanted by someone and the fact that the very thing they fear may reject them is a punch to the gut.

      12 votes
  5. [3]
    DefinitelyNotAFae
    Link
    Intra-community label policing and intolerance is even worse in many ways than individual harassment from cis straight people. Because you're supposed to know better. You're supposed to be in the...

    Intra-community label policing and intolerance is even worse in many ways than individual harassment from cis straight people.

    Because you're supposed to know better. You're supposed to be in the family and know how important acceptance is and why it fucking matters. Biphobic gay/lesbian people, everyone who says "LGB drop the T", and even alleged allies who would never actually consider dating a bi man because he's gay. Ace-exclusion. Excluding identities from other cultures. Co-opting identities like Two Spirit to mean "spicy gay".

    It's always worse.

    17 votes
    1. [2]
      CptBluebear
      Link Parent
      This is exceedingly common in every minority community that makes their trait* their identity. Became deaf later in life or have a cochlear implant? Not True Deaf. Black actor but a bit light...

      This is exceedingly common in every minority community that makes their trait* their identity. Became deaf later in life or have a cochlear implant? Not True Deaf.
      Black actor but a bit light skinned? Not true black representation.

      And I can go on and on, but I'm not nor do I want to sound spiteful or dismissive.
      Point is, this is frustrating when you're part of the community. Perhaps more so when this community is about inclusivity. There's no real solution to it, but it's possible to not accept it as if it's a normal way of treating each other.

      And from the outside looking in, it just becomes opaque and uninviting.

      *Apologies for using the word "making" as if it's a choice and on top of that my apologies for distilling it to merely a trait. I was looking for a catch-all term that encompassed more than sexuality, more than a disability, or more than skin color, or more than etcetera. I hope that makes sense.

      7 votes
      1. DefinitelyNotAFae
        Link Parent
        No I get what you're getting at. I think it's common in minoritized groups in general or maybe just identity groups in general as i think you can see it in Christians as much as in queer folks....

        No I get what you're getting at. I think it's common in minoritized groups in general or maybe just identity groups in general as i think you can see it in Christians as much as in queer folks. Some people feel it necessary to perpetuate the systemic oppression of the world/soceity on people within their groups. Whether that's colorism among Black folks, or biphobia/transphobia/transmisogyny among queer folks etc. Deaf vs deaf is not something I'm qualified to speak on but some of that is self-identification and growing up with Deaf culture (like CODAs do) as much as it is internalized oppression.

        There's also frustration at only seeing the more "acceptable" types of their identity portrayed in the media. Only seeing sad trans folks who die, only seeing white cis gay male monogamous couples with children or "sassy gay best friend", only seeing deaf people portrayed who can speak (or who are played by hearing folks who don't speak a sign language), only seeing lighter skin tones among Black folks and POC, only seeing them portrayed as the "sassy Black best friend," etc. So that anger gets turned internally too. It's messy.

        I'm empathetic to it as I denounce it (while trying to stay in my lane). But it's something I wish folks understood. That it hurts more coming from us.

        3 votes
  6. [10]
    paris
    Link
    I know the internet is "US-default" but queerness presents differently in other parts of the world. Gender and sexuality are currently spoken of as being unlinked distinct identities in US...

    I know the internet is "US-default" but queerness presents differently in other parts of the world. Gender and sexuality are currently spoken of as being unlinked distinct identities in US discourse, but that's not the only way of understanding gender or sexuality, not even necessarily the default.

    I do wish people would stop policing the way other people engage with their queerness. Just because someone's queerness doesn't match what you think queerness should look like doesn't mean it's wrong.

    16 votes
    1. [9]
      sunshine_radio
      Link Parent
      I don't understand how you could regard gender and sexuality as being inherently linked, without getting into the business of policing other people's gender or sexual identities, though. It's...

      I don't understand how you could regard gender and sexuality as being inherently linked, without getting into the business of policing other people's gender or sexual identities, though.

      It's valid for someone to identify as queer^gender without identifying as queer^sexuality (e.g. "I'm a straight, trans man; I'm attracted mostly to women"), or the other way around, identifying as queer^sexuality without identifying as queer^gender (e.g. "I'm gay, and that doesn't make me less of a man / not a man.")

      Do you agree that both of those identities are valid? If so, then I would expect you to agree that gender and sexuality are not inherently linked, no? And if you disagree that they are valid, then why not?

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Bet
        Link Parent
        They said this, which you seem to be ignoring: You want them to agree with you, but they don’t have to. Especially not on this particular post.

        They said this, which you seem to be ignoring:

        I do wish people would stop policing the way other people engage with their queerness. Just because someone's queerness doesn't match what you think queerness should look like doesn't mean it's wrong.

        You want them to agree with you, but they don’t have to. Especially not on this particular post.

        7 votes
        1. sunshine_radio
          Link Parent
          Nope, I have no horse in the race of that person's gender theory. I was just asking a question.

          You want them to agree with you, but they don’t have to. Especially not on this particular post.

          Nope, I have no horse in the race of that person's gender theory. I was just asking a question.

          1 vote
      2. [6]
        sparksbet
        Link Parent
        Gender and sexuality don't have to be linked, but they don't have to be totally separate either. When I first came out I described my gender identity to my wife as "like lesbian as a gender." It's...

        Gender and sexuality don't have to be linked, but they don't have to be totally separate either. When I first came out I described my gender identity to my wife as "like lesbian as a gender." It's very common for identities to contain a mix of gender and sexuality, often to the extent that it's difficult to distinguish them -- he/him butch lesbians have been a thing since before I was born. I'm non-binary and identify as gay "in both directions", so my sexual identity is extremely dependent on my queer gender, nebulous as it is.

        The person you replied to isn't demanding that everyone treat gender and sexuality as intrinsically linked, but expressing frustration at the opposite extreme -- the idea that they cannot be linked. Generally, I agree with them, particularly the end of their comment. I'm sick and tired of people insisting on rigid definitions for everything, sorting queer people into the appropriate boxes. Labels can be useful, but the insistence on meeting some abstract "right definition" of a given identity is something we should get rid of, especially within the queer community. To quote a Tumblr turn of phrase, kill the cop inside your head.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          saturnV
          Link Parent
          Would it be fair to say that way of using the word lesbian is treating it as a cultural more than functional identifier, or is that overly reductive?

          Would it be fair to say that way of using the word lesbian is treating it as a cultural more than functional identifier, or is that overly reductive?

          1 vote
          1. sparksbet
            Link Parent
            I don't think it's inaccurate but I wasn't ever part of any lesbian social circle prior to coming out, so it's a little more complicated than what I'd expect hearing "culturally lesbian" if that...

            I don't think it's inaccurate but I wasn't ever part of any lesbian social circle prior to coming out, so it's a little more complicated than what I'd expect hearing "culturally lesbian" if that makes sense. I think I was inspired by reading something on Tumblr about how lesbians were perceived as a third gender in the early 20th century. Regardless of whether that's true, it's that creation of one's own third category that's a mix of the traditionally masculine and feminine that appeals to me. Probably "butch" is a better description of what appealed to me than "lesbian", but at the time I was grasping for whatever language I could think of.

            5 votes
        2. [3]
          sunshine_radio
          Link Parent
          You're generously re-assembling the person's point into a logically defensible one, but that is not what they said. But I'm not the gender logic police, so I'll leave it at that.

          The person you replied to isn't demanding that everyone treat gender and sexuality as intrinsically linked, but expressing frustration at the opposite extreme -- the idea that they cannot be linked.

          You're generously re-assembling the person's point into a logically defensible one, but that is not what they said. But I'm not the gender logic police, so I'll leave it at that.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            sparksbet
            Link Parent
            They said (emphasis mine): I don't think my description of what they said is inaccurate when you compare it to the text. Even if I am charitably steel-manning them, I encourage you to more...

            They said (emphasis mine):

            Gender and sexuality are currently spoken of as being unlinked distinct identities in US discourse, but that's not the only way of understanding gender or sexuality, not even necessarily the default.

            I don't think my description of what they said is inaccurate when you compare it to the text. Even if I am charitably steel-manning them, I encourage you to more generally read comments on Tildes as charitably as possible. It's better for discussion, especially in threads like this one.

            5 votes
            1. sunshine_radio
              Link Parent
              Thanks for the nice advice about how I should act while visiting your web site. To repeat myself, I don't have anything more to add about this topic.

              Thanks for the nice advice about how I should act while visiting your web site. To repeat myself, I don't have anything more to add about this topic.

              1 vote
  7. Gaywallet
    Link
    Stop assuming things based on labels. If someone shares a label with you, think about why they are sharing that label with you and ask clarifying questions. When I tell people that I'm non-binary,...

    Stop assuming things based on labels. If someone shares a label with you, think about why they are sharing that label with you and ask clarifying questions. When I tell people that I'm non-binary, it's usually because they are asking how to address me, or it's in response to being addressed in a way that I don't like. Don't make any assumptions about what it means about my experience, or even how I want to be addressed - it's inviting you to then ask me how I want to be addressed or questions about my gender (if relevant).

    Some of my labels I don't share at the outset because of this behavior and some of the labels I put upfront because of this behavior (to protect myself). For example, I put my gender identity upfront because I want to quickly weed out people who wish me harm or don't want to interact with people like me. But I don't often put the fact that I'm aromantic up front, because it means a lot of people will self select out of relationships with me without understanding what that label means for me. It doesn't mean I only want friends with benefits situations with people, but it's a label that's so frequently misunderstood that people have no frame of reference to understand it. I've found that when people don't understand a label, they often make assumptions about what it means rather than asking questions about what it means and voicing concerns where it's relevant.

    15 votes
  8. [2]
    Abdoanmes
    Link
    For most of my life, I identified as a straight white man, having been married once to a woman and then remarried to another woman. Recently, however, I've embraced my bisexuality, a realization...

    For most of my life, I identified as a straight white man, having been married once to a woman and then remarried to another woman. Recently, however, I've embraced my bisexuality, a realization that has profoundly impacted how I see myself and the world.

    Coming out as bisexual after identifying as straight for over 35 years isn't easy. People often question my authenticity, assuming it's a phase, that I'm seeking attention, or that's all about sex. These misconceptions can be frustrating and hurtful. Bisexuality is not a trend or an experiment—it's a real and valid part of who I am.

    It's essential to address these misunderstandings and challenge the stigma. Being attracted to more than one gender doesn't make my feelings any less genuine. It's a part of my identity that deserves respect and acceptance, just like anyone else's. I am likely pansexual, but bisexual was something I have identified most of my life and so stuck with the older terminology.

    14 votes
    1. Minithra
      Link Parent
      Ah yes, the "you must be having a midlife crisis" people. >.< I'm hopeful for a future where we don't need to put everything in boxes

      Ah yes, the "you must be having a midlife crisis" people. >.<

      I'm hopeful for a future where we don't need to put everything in boxes

      6 votes
  9. X08
    Link
    That being queer isn't all rainbows and unicorns. My life path is entirely non-standard and the hardships are almost too hard to bare. Acceptance of diversity, knowledge of its existence might've...

    That being queer isn't all rainbows and unicorns. My life path is entirely non-standard and the hardships are almost too hard to bare. Acceptance of diversity, knowledge of its existence might've helped me 25 years ago but what has happened happened and dealing with all that likely will make me not have a chance of finding a partner in time to have a lovely family of my own with, own a house, have a normal job etc. That is a reality I have a hard time to consider let alone even accept.

    6 votes