Will a vote bring the acceptance the LGBTQ+ community want?

Last night on Sydney’s talkback radio station, 2GB, Steve Price and Andrew Bolt talked about the topic that just won’t die… same – sex martiage. This comes after Independent Senator, Nick Xenophon and his party vowed to block the same – sex marriage plebiscite legislation. Now, it’s up to Labor and then time will only tell where the issue goes from there.

Andrew Bolt, a vocal critic… or sceptic (?) of same – sex marriage, is adament that same – sex marriage should be decided by the public, not politicians. Since the success of the ‘Yes’ campaign in Ireland last year, he’s been more adament about the issue going to a public vote. He made one very good – and I think true point- that the LGBTQ+ community really want validation, including for their relationships. He believes that a successful public vote will bring that.

 

I’m usually sceptical of what Bolt says about same – sex marriage, but doesn’t he have a point? Don’t the wider LGBTQ+ community want to know that we are accepted? I knpw I do. In the past, as I have written, that’s been one of my greatest hopes and fears when coming to terms with my own sexuality. That fear was the source of many anxious moments and tears. While I don’t know all the struggles and fears that many young lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans- gender people/ gender diverse people go through, I know it’s painful to even think of having people you care about reject you or hate you. I know what it’s like to hate yourself. It can be terrifying not knowing whether or not you are gay/ lesbian and think ‘what if I am? What next?’

 

I have written before how even symbolic acceptance can be powerful – a small sign that, if you are LGBTQ+, there are people you can be yourself around. If it comes from friends and family, all the better. In the aftermath of the Irish referendum, as Bolt pointed out, it was seen as a huge step torward to, not just same legal rights for same – sex couples, but it was seen as a huge sign to Irish LGBTQ+ people that they are accepted by many in society, despite Ireland’s traditionally Catholic roots. Why can’t that mean the same for LGBTQ+ peoole here… that is providing that the 60% rate in favour of same – sex marriage is correct, I guess.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

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#PrideGame and the need for explicit statements of acceptance

St. Kilda (Saints) got THUMPED on the weekend 😡😡😡😡. It was by the Sydney Swans, so I guess it’s OK. Swans aren’t too bad. Hey Swans fans 😀.

So, apart from being ANOTHER humiliating defeat for the Saints *sigh*, it was a special round – a Pride Round – an effort by the AFL to proclaim that everyone – including LGBTQ+ fans are welcome to play and watch the game.

This was a long time coming. In 2012, Jason Ball – a former footballer of the Yarra Valley and now Greens candidate – came out as gay. This revelation has sparked discussion on whether LGBTQ+ athletes in general, and AFL players and fans in particular were able to be included in the game and be out about who they are.

The AFL hasn’t escaped controversy when it comes to LGBTQ+ inclusion. In2010 ex – Brisbane Lions and former Western Bulldogs player, Jason Akermanis caused outrage when he said that the AFL “wasn’t ready” for an out gay footbalker and that they should remain in the closet and that other players may feel “uncomfortable” if they knew one of their players were gay. Because of that and other controversies, I can understand why the AFL has different rounds, such as “Pride Round” and “Indigenous Rounds”. I do think it’s a good idea for major sports codes and other significant cultural events to explicitly state that discrimination in ANY form will not be tolerated. I think it’s good for companies, sports codes, etc, to explicitly state whether for not members of the LGBTQ+ community are welcome. The reason why I say that is because a lack of discussion can automatically be interpreted as members of the LGBTQ+ not welcome or, they should shut up about it. And it is often only a matter of time when the truth comes out (no pun intended), or people essentially live a lie and have that eat at them. For younger people who are struggling with their sexuality, silence can exacerbate feelings of shame and the idea that if, heaven forbid, they are found out about, they will lose much of what they hold dear – family, friends, career, etc.

 

I’ll provide a rather personal example. Before the SCOTUS ruling on same – sex marriage across all 50 States last year,  I admit, I was very, very careful about what I posted here in fear of backlash. Seeing a number of my friends add the rainbow flag filter on their profile picture, it was confirmation for me that whatever I posted here, the likelihood of personal ramifications was minimal. After the Orlando shooting, memes assuring that straight people stand besidectge LGBTQ+ community was also comforting.

I NEED to be TOLD that I’m welcome for who I am. I need to be assured thatmy world won’t collapse if I came out to someone. I need to know that there are people I can be myself around. I daresay that LGBTQ+ athletes need the same from their codes. That’s why the Pride Round I believe, was and is needed.

 

More Steps Toward Equality and Acceptance for LGBTQ+

People were buzzed and excited with the SCOTUS decision to legalise same – sex marriage across the US on 22 June 2015. Symbolic celebration took over Facebook. But what now? This ruling won’t eliminate homophobia. Things like LGBT suicide, bullying and the like will need to be addressed. And what about everyone else LGBT/ non – cis – gender/ heterosexual?

  • Asexual people ACTUALLY BEING BELIEVED
  • Adexual getting ethical treatment by mental health professionals
  • Bisexual people not being portrayed like a poem fantasy in the media (I think ‘Orange is Tge New Black’ is starting to destigmatise bisexual people)
  • That people across the LGBT+ people will all be protected under anti – discrimination/equal opportunity laws from unfair dismissal
  • That LGBT+ people will no longer experience discrimination as a tenant
  • Asexual and bisexual women in particular will be able to resist sexual advances without bein violated
  • When homophobic bullying is no longer prevalent.
  • That transgender people can be referred to by their preferred gender pronouns and names as a sign of respect.

So, yeah, I think there is still a way to go. We’re making advances, hat’s for sure. Even asexuality is starting to be discussed more, and the majority of coverage  in the mediais quite positive, actually. So, I’m quietly optimistic.

Just a note: as you probably can point out, I didn’t mention pan or poly sexuals. That’s because I don’t know about their experiences. In the comments, feel free to add what you’d like to see happen and your own experiences.

Acceptance

TW: suicide

The suicide of transgender teenager Leelah Acorn brung to light the conflicts that many LGBT face and the importance of acceptance, especially from parents. I just thought I’d talk about the term acceptance, including what it means in the context of asexuality.

What acceptance is NOT: 

  • Acceptance doesn’t mean understanding, in the sense that you know exactly what your LGBTA+friend/ child/sibling, etc is going through. Chances are you don’t really have a clue of what someone who is LGBTA+ is going through if you haven’t experienced things like they might. That’s OK. It doesn’t give your or anyone else the right to be rude or condescending though.
  • Acceptance doesn’t mean that you’ll immediately change your beliefs about things. Even on Tumblr, Alcirn admitted that. Some people have deeply ingrained views about sexuality and gender, particularly if they’ve been heavily involved in a religious organisation where certain views on gender and sexuality are very black and white, particularly in a highly conservative environment.

What acceptance IS:

  • Acceptance is believing what the person is saying, or at least respecting the person enough not to be dismissive about what the person’s been telling you.
  • Acceptance means your overall view of the hasn’t been negatively affected to devastating proportions. If someone has ‘come out’ to you, and you need time to process what you’ve been told, by all means do it. May I suggest maybe doing research on gender/ sexuality information relevant to the person who’s come out to you. Read blogs, research papers, books/ ebooks/ iBooks, articles,whatever you can, just to gain some insight into the worlds of the group of people your friend/ loved one identifies with.
  • Obviously, acceptance means not ostracising the person from you or others

Research indicates that if a LGBTA+ person is accepted by loved ones, they are are lipless likely to be suicidal or self – harm. I think too, they’re less likely to be involved in harmful activities (drugs, etc). So please, please love and/ or respect the person who’s just come out to you. Chances are, the decision for the person to come put wasn’t the easiest for them either. It can be a nerve wracking experience, even when the likelihood of something bad happening is slim.

Acknowledge Recognition For the Asexual Community

It can be frustrating being misrepresented, sometimes mocked, or pathologised in the media and society in general. It’ can be disheartening and upsetting. But I do believe there is  a lot of positive that has happened,  in the media. Here’s a few I can name (both on and offline).

  • The US Cosmopolitan website did a brillliant article on two anonymous asexual women. The article asked for their experiences without judging (from the article anyway, read about it in “Kudos to US Cosmo” post’).
  • The Feed did a great presentation earlier this year when Asexual blogger/ activist Jo Qualmann spoke of her experiences
  • Even on “The Project”, Carrie Bickmore (in particular), defended asexuals and was very polite. The story on asexuality itself was actually quite good.
  • A few years ago, Australia’s “Cleo’ did a feature on Asexuality (featuring Qualmann). It was very well written (albeit brief)

Just wanted to post some positive points about asexual visibility. It’s getting out there. For those who feel down over asexuality and it’s portrayal (or lack of), I truly believe that it’s only a matter of time until asexuality is treated as just a factor of life. Are we there yet? No. But I believe we will.

The Asexual Community and the LGBT

Sometimes there is discussion among asexual people on Facebook on whether asexuals belong within the LGBT community. Sure, some of them may be allies, but other than that, people are divided about whether we belong under the LGBT umbrella or not (even if you use a different acronym like GSD (Gender and Sexual Diverse).

I suppose historically and politically, the Asexual community hasn’t had the same battles that the LGBT have faced. From what I understand, events like the Stonewall Riots in the US in the ’60’s (or 70’s?) which protested against police brutality and the decriminilisation of homosexuality haven’t happened within the Asexual community. On a broad scale, Asexuals also haven’t faced the same moral condemnation that the LGBT have faced over the years.

For me personally, I haven’t had anything to do with the LGBT community basically because of where I live more than anything. I can understand both sides of the argument. On one hand, we don’t fit (those who are also cisgender anyway). Then, on the other hand, maybe we can relate to some of the struggles that members of the LGBT people face, like prejudices, being misunderstood, being seemingly invisible, non – acceptance, etc.

I suppose it’s up to individual choice whether people can “fit” under the LGBT umbrella. For me, I’ve got to say I understand some of the struggles that LGBTyoung people may go through (fear of non – acceptance, feeling isolated when I was younger, etc). I’m not going to pretend, though, that I can fully relate or understand with all the struggles that LGBT people go through, but I can say I honestly  relate to some of the issues that they face.

I guess that everyone’s journey, whether asexual or not, is going to be different. That’s OK. As long as we can get along and respect and be respected by each other.