The dark path the Republican Party is going down is getting more and more twisted and dangerous. It’s truly horrifying what is going on, for it goes way beyond just Trump. Republicans around the country are pushing legislation that is based on ignorance, intolerance, and full-blown prejudice. Here are just a few examples.
Around the United States, Republicans are pushing legislation that is blatantly targeting the LGBTQ community, and they don’t seem to care that such laws will increase the suffering of queer people and increase LGBTQ suicide rates, especially among young people. Consider the following statistics that were compiled by the Trevor Project in a 2021 survey of almost 35,000 LGBTQ youth (ages of 13 to 24). 42% of LGBTQ youth had seriously considered suicide in the past year, and for Transgender/Nonbinary youth, that number was 52%. 72% of LGBTQ young people reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in the previous two weeks, and only 1 in 3 indicated that they lived in an LGBTQ affirming home. During the previous 12 months, 48% said that they wanted professional counseling but had not received it, and LGBTQ youth who had been subjected to conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide when compared to those who had not been subjected to the barbaric practice.
Now, think about those numbers. I mean really think about them. And remember that these statistics are from before the glut of 2022/2023 anti-LGBTQ legislation. Clearly, “don’t say gay” laws will worsen these numbers since they make queer students feel more isolated, out of place, and alone in addition to limiting the ability of school staff from helping out when needed. This latter point is very significant when you consider that only one in three queer minors felt like they live in an LGBTQ affirming home.
In addition to these horrible “don’t say gay” laws, Republicans around the country are also pushing for legislation that bans gender-affirming care for minors. Remember that even before these laws, 52% of Transgender youth in 2021 indicated that they had seriously considered suicide during the previous 12 months. Numerous studies have shown that gender-affirming care for Trans+ (Transgender, Nonbinary, etc) minors improves quality of life and thus decreases suicide rates. This is why the major American medical associations support gender-affirming care for minors. And the thing is, gender-affirming care is not done lightly. Numerous people (the individual in question, their parents, doctors, counselors etc) are involved in deciding whether gender-affirming care is warranted or not. The other thing to remember is that gender-affirming care for minors that goes beyond clothing, counseling, etc typically consists of medication such as puberty blockers and hormone treatments, both of which can be stopped at any time. It is actually very rare for individuals under the age of 18 to receive any kind of gender altering surgery. Yet despite all the evidence showing how gender-affirming care for minors works, Republicans around the country are trying to ban it despite the fact that such bans will clearly increase the suffering and suicide rates of Trans+ youth.
This wave of anti-LGBTQ sentiment and policy being promoted by the Republican Party is based on ignorance, intolerance, and blatant prejudice. It is worsening the quality of life of LGBTQ people and will undoubtedly increase suicide rights. This is why we all need to stand against the bigotry being blatantly pushed by the Republican Party. It’s important for people to speak out when they can in order to make it clear that such horrendous prejudice will not be tolerated. Trying to spend our money in places and businesses that are pro-LGBTQ and avoiding those that are anti-LGBTQ is another tactic we can utilize. When considering going on vacation, instead of going to a place like Florida (which is passing anti-LGBTQ bills into law), consider going to a state like California instead.
And VOTE! Vote against Republicans that are pushing these and other bigoted, intolerant laws. Vote them out of office and put in elected officials who protect things like LGBTQ rights, women’s reproductive rights, educational institutions, and more.
For people who are transgender, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer, and so on (I’m using the term trans+ for this group to make this conversation easier), these are extremely disturbing and frequently painful times. This is due to the fact that so many people are openly making transphobic remarks and actions in addition to which a significant portion of the Republican Party is pushing extremely transphobic legislation that is knowingly infringing on trans+ rights.
To better understand why transphobia is so deeply hurtful, let’s take a look at some numbers. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), 29% of transgender people live in poverty, and only 22% have health care insurance. 54% have been the victims of domestic abuse, yet only 30% of women’s shelters are willing to house transgender women. 47% of transgender individuals have been sexually assaulted, and during the years 2014 to 2015, 1 in 10 were physically assaulted. Now here are some other numbers from a nationwide survey of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ individuals aged 13 to 24 conducted by the Trevor Project in 2021. During the 12 months before the survey, 42% of this group said they had seriously considered suicide, and for transgender youth, that number went up to 52%. 72% of the LGBTQ youth surveyed indicated that they had symptoms of general anxiety disorder, and only one in three said they lived in a LGBTQ affirming home.
Think about those numbers for a minute. Really think about them. 52% of transgender youth had seriously considered suicide in a 12-month period. That number is sickeningly high and is indicative of the intolerance and prejudice trans+ people must face on a regular basis. Whether coming from everyday people, movies, books, TV shows, or from well known individuals (such as JK Rowling, Dave Chappelle, Ron DeSantis, and others), transphobic comments and actions contribute to the tragically and dangerously high numbers I referenced above because they encourage other people to have intolerant attitudes towards the trans+ community.
Making things even worse is how much of the Republican Party is encouraging transphobic attitudes as it pushes anti-transgender laws in states around the country. Despite the fact that major medical associations in the United States support gender affirming care of transgender minors, Republicans are trying to ban such care in states around the country. Such bans will worsen the suffering of transgender youth and will absolutely increase their suicide rates.
People need to educate themselves and open their minds with regards to trans+ individuals and the LGBTQ community in general. For example, studies have shown that gender affirming care for trans+ under 18 years of age is extremely beneficial, improves quality of life, and thus lowers suicide rates. Decisions on what care will be provided include the individual in question, their parents, their doctors, and typically involve things like puberty blockers (puberty blockers are reversible). In other words, gender affirming care is not done willy-nilly, and actual surgery is extremely rare for individuals under 18.
So people need to stop believing the extremist, prejudiced fear mongering that’s coming from the far right. Everyone needs to learn, open their minds, and call out transphobic comments, actions, and behavior whenever possible. Another vitally important thing to do is vote against politicians who are promoting ignorance, prejudice, and hate with regards to trans+ people.
It’s time to try to make this a better world for everyone, and that includes the trans+ community too.
2023 has arrived and despite the fact that we are well into the 21st century, it is all too tragically apparent that we LGBTQs still have a long way to go for full acceptance, especially when you consider everything that has been going on of late. Think about it. Conservatives around the country are pushing anti-LGBTQ policies and laws despite the fact these hurt a great number of the population. We’ve seen far too many assaults and murders of people just because they were queer. A large number of LGBTQ minors live in homes that are not queer affirming, and things can get so bad that some run away while there are others who get kicked out even when they have nowhere else to go. Many LGBTQ people (like transgender, genderfluid, nonbinary, genderqueer, bisexual+) find dating extremely difficult to near impossible because of lack of acceptance. For many, it’s so bad that they are facing the hard reality that they will probably never find someone special.
So what can we do about it? I know it can feel insurmountable at times. But there are things we can do to try to improve LGBTQ lives and acceptance.
One is to speak up and make our voices heard. I realize that many LGBTQ people are not comfortable being out, and that’s okay. A person should only come out if they want to and choose to. But for those who are out and are comfortable and safe speaking up, making our voices heard can make a difference. There are a variety of ways to do this. One example is using social media to speak up and to share important information. And please remember that it’s important to be as accurate as possible when doing this because spreading bad information is counterproductive as well as just plain wrong. Day to day interactions with non-LGBTQ friends and acquaintances also help so that they realize that we LGBTQs are decent human beings who deserve respect and human rights as well.
Something else we can do is encourage greater and more accurate LGBTQ representation in movies, TV shows, books, video games and so on. Supporting examples that succeed in accomplishing this is one way. Another is to contact the creators themselves (such as authors, directors, etc) via social media, websites, and so on to tell them what we want. When doing this, it’s important to say thank you to those who provide good LGBTQ representation as well as challenging those who do not.
Another thing we can do is to support businesses which are pro-LGBTQ, try to avoid those which are not, and speak up about what we are doing. And when a business is especially anti-LGBTQ, we can encourage as many people as possible to avoid that business and even boycott it.
And vote! Get out and vote for elected officials who support and will promote LGBTQ rights. Remember that every vote counts, and that absolutely includes yours!
In terms of LGBTQ rights and acceptance, we have come a quite a ways, especially when you consider what it was like 20 or 30 years ago. But we still have a long way to go, and if we make an effort, we can continue forward in our quest for full rights and acceptance. And that will make the world a better place for everyone.
I’m bisexual+ and genderfluid, and as such, I’ve learned from first hand experience how much intolerance, prejudice, and lack of understanding there is against individuals who are bisexual+, genderfluid, genderqueer, nonbinary, transgender, asexual, intersex, and so on (BTNIA for short) from both inside and outside the LGBTQ Community. Unfortunately, experiencing intolerance from cisgender, straight people is not a surprise despite the fact it’s the 21st century. But having to deal with it from fellow members of the LGBTQ Community can be even more painful since we wanted to believe that we’d at least find acceptance from other LGBTQs. But acceptance even here is not always the case. And let me tell you, it really hurts and can adversely affect innocent people’s lives.
Why is there still so much intolerance against BTNIA individuals? Lack of understanding is a big factor I would say. People often fear, are intolerant towards, and shun what they see as too different and don’t understand. They are more likely to listen to unfair stereotypes and jump to premature conclusions that they then base future behavior on. This is compounded by the problem of how so many individuals only seek out people, groups, information sites, etc that agree with them and shun or ignore those that don’t. This sort of behavior reinforces close-mindedness and ends up seriously hurting innocent people (in this case, BTNIA individuals) who are seen as too different.
The result is many of us who are BTNIA feel isolated and alone without a sense of community, and trust me when I say that this can be brutally hard. Human beings are social creatures as a species, so feeling like we don’t belong anywhere usually goes against our nature. A great number of BTNIA people suffer in the closet as a consequence, afraid of what might happen if their secret was discovered. Others who are out often find dating extremely difficult (sometimes near impossible) so that it’s common to find BTNIA individuals grappling with the very strong likelihood that we’ll never find someone special and that we’ll always be alone. Establishing close, genuine friendships can be terribly difficult too since we are often seen as at least a bit too different.
It’s way past time for people to open their minds and educate themselves. To push outside their comfort zones and learn about other people who are different from themselves. They should seek out information from a variety of different sources, not just from those that agree with them. And they need to stop automatically believing stereotypes that are frequently unfair and not true for many BTNIA individuals.
If more people would open their minds, it would help BTNIA individuals live happier, more fulfilling lives, and it would also help those individuals who are opening their minds to live better lives themselves.
People’s fear and/or discomfort of what they don’t understand hurt others far too often. And unfortunately, there are plenty of examples in society today.
In general, it seems that many people only want to be involved with individuals, organizations, places, ideas, and so on that fit into their comfort zone. This means they tend to just associate with others who are similar to them. It can manifest in many ways, like people only socializing with others who share their views (such as in religion, politics, and interests). Whether they consciously realize it or not, these individuals frequently avoid those whom they see as too different, and this can be detrimental to all concerned in numerous ways.
For one thing, this tendency can insulate people far too severely so that they often fail to open their minds. As this happens, they don’t adequately consider other ideas and points of view and as a result, usually don’t give such things anywhere close to a fair chance. The consequences of this sort of behavior end up hurting themselves as well as others.
We can see the effects of this in a plethora of ways. One is in politics. Many people today focus their political discussions and fervor only with others who already agree with them and immediately reject ideas coming from individuals they see as too different. Just because one may disagree with another in numerous ways politically, doesn’t mean the other person doesn’t have some good points or ideas. If both parties would open their minds, they may find some common ground in places and perhaps the potential for compromise. They may also learn from each other and thus broaden their minds even further.
Another area where the consequences are seen far too often is in the social realm. It is terribly common how so many people only socialize with or date others they see as similar enough (and not too different). The result is that many people get hurt and end up feeling rejected and lonely. This is especially true for individuals whom too much of society don’t understand and end up closing their minds to. For example, many bisexual+ people find dating brutally difficult despite the fact that they can be just as faithful as anyone else. Numerous others (such as individuals who are transgender, genderfluid, genderqueer, nonbinary, asexual, and so on) have terrible challenges in trying to date because of being seen as too different. Most people automatically reject them in a kneejerk type of reaction without even trying to get to know them. The result is that far too many individuals feel isolated and alone. Plus, those who are so quick to reject them may be missing out on what could potentially have been a wonderful relationship.
These are just a few examples. People in general need to open their minds and cease being so quick to judge. They should stop being so fearful of what they don’t adequately understand and instead, work to educate themselves and broaden their horizons, for doing so would likely make the lives of themselves and others so much better.
Think about the fact that transgender women are four times more likely to be murdered than cisgender women. I mean really think about that. It’s heartbreaking, disgraceful, and a real sign that intolerance and prejudice are still far too common in today’s society.
It begs the question: why?
Why are so many people so intolerant towards others just because they are different from themselves.
People often are uncomfortable with, fear, and sometimes even hate things that are different and that they don’t understand. While some strive to overcome this by opening their minds and educating themselves, others don’t and sometimes sink further into prejudice and hate.
The current state of affairs needs to change. People should open their minds and educate themselves. They also need to stop automatically believing stereotypes that are frequently untrue. So I’m going to use this piece to try to educate people on some terms and ideas that many in today’s society don’t have a good grasp on. And I’m going to be clear about the fact that I am queer myself having a fluid sexuality (bisexual+) and a fluid gender (genderfluid).
A transgender person is an individual who identifies as a different gender than the physical body the person was born with. For example: a transgender woman was born physically male but identifies as a woman. Transitioning is the process of trying to get her physical body to match how she identifies. A non-binary person is someone who doesn’t identify as either male or female. They don’t relate with the traditional male/female binary. A genderfluid individual is someone whose gender identity is fluid (a mixture of male, female, and in between); how much they feel one way as compared to others can fluctuate. Thus, the fluid aspect of the term. Genderqueer refers to individuals who don’t subscribe (either fully or in part) to the traditional gender binary. Bisexuality refers to the potential to be attracted to more than one gender (male, female, non-binary, etc) while pansexuality is attraction to someone regardless of that person’s gender (like gender doesn’t matter in a way). Bisexual+ (bi+) is an umbrella term used to describe anyone who can be attracted to more than one gender (or regardless of gender), whatever term(s) they prefer (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, etc). Queer is essentially a catch-all word referring to anyone who is LGBTQ+. Clearly, there is overlap and interconnection with some of these terms, and many people will use more than one to describe themselves.
People who are bi+, transgender, genderfluid, non-binary, genderqueer, and so on are living, breathing human beings who deserve open-mindedness, tolerance, decency, and respect. We are not disturbed or diseased. We are not a bunch of confused, cheating sex maniacs. We want to live happy, productive lives just like everyone else. We want to have friendship and love too. As to romance, most of us are monogamous individuals while others choose polyamorous or open relationship lifestyles.
So please, take some time to educate yourselves and open your minds. Be respectful of others and don’t automatically be intolerant against someone just because they are different from you.
I’m going to be up front about the fact that I am queer with a fluid sexuality (bisexual+) and a fluid gender (genderfluid). As such, I unfortunately have first-hand experience about how so many cisgendered people often have a serious lack of understanding with regards to genderfluid, genderqueer, non-binary, and transgender (GfNT) individuals. This in turn leads to intolerance and prejudice.
Maybe I should start with explaining who we are. A transgender person is an individual who identifies as a different gender than the physical body the person was born with. For example: a transgender woman was born physically male but identifies as a woman. Transitioning is the process of trying to get her physical body to match how she identifies. A non-binary person is someone who doesn’t identify as either male or female. They don’t relate with the traditional male/female binary. A genderfluid individual is someone whose gender identity is fluid. A mixture of male, female, and in between. How much they feel one way as compared to the others can fluctuate one minute to the next. Thus, the fluid aspect of the term. Genderqueer refers to individuals who don’t subscribe (either fully or in part) to the traditional gender binary. Clearly, there is overlap and interconnection with some of these terms, and many GfNT people will use more than one to describe themselves.
Often, people fear, ridicule, and make fun of things that they don’t understand or are uncomfortable with. This is especially common among cisgendered individuals with regards to GfNT people. But when a person makes fun of and ridicules a community that is hurting and suffering, it worsens the pain and intolerance that community is already being forced to endure. It reinforces and exacerbates the lack of understanding and prejudice that is so pervasive in this society.
Consider this: many GfNT people are afraid to use public restrooms because of the risk of verbal and even physical abuse. Using public restrooms is something cisgendered people take for granted. Dating is another area that GfNT individuals such as myself often find brutally difficult because most cisgendered people won’t even consider dating us, even if they were interested before realizing our gender identity. The result of all this is that too many GfNT people feel very isolated and alone. Studies have shown that the transgender community suffers higher rates of depression and suicide than the cisgendered community. This is obviously connected to intolerance, prejudice, lack of understanding, isolation, and loneliness.
For things to get better, people need to educate themselves and open their minds. Put themselves in other people’s shoes so to speak. Imagine being afraid of the simple act of using a public restroom. Think about how hard it would be going through life feeling isolated and alone because you are trying to be true to who you are. If more members of the cisgender community would do this, perhaps there would be fewer ridiculing and making hurtful jokes about the GfNT community.