Editor’s Note: The following submission is from Amy Maria Flannigan. Have an LGBTQ+ related experience or story to share? Having your article published on this site will automatically enrol you into a raffle to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Submit an article today via queerdeermedia.com.
[amazon_link asins=’B072JJHM4J’ template=’ProductAdRight’ store=’ourqueerstories-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a2c857eb-8cd9-11e7-97dc-951989e2d9f9′]This is what the youth are taught nowadays. That once they are older they will want sex and relationships. That everyone want and have sex and everyone wants a romantic relationship. And it’s mostly assumed that they will want a boy or a girl, depending on their gender, or what society presumes is their gender. It is so ingrained in this society of ours that we don’t let the young people know that they can be any other sexuality and be any other gender. We don’t let them know that it’s possible for them to like both or neither binary gender (the same idea can be applied to someone’s feelings/attraction towards non-binary genders). We also don’t give any room to the possibility that perhaps someone won’t want sex or a relationship. And yet our minorities aren’t so minor. The number of homosexuals are estimated to create up to 20% of the world’s population. Asexuals are estimated to make up 0,5 to 8% of the world’s population. The 1% figure so many use now comes from a years old survey that was conducted only in Britain and didn’t ask for asexuality specifically. So technically there could be up to 1,4 billion of homosexual people and up to 560 million aces.
So why does society hold on to the limited ways of teaching and why is that a bad thing?
Well,for this, we have to delve into the different aspects of our society and culture and how it has developed throughout the years.
From the very beginnings of our civilization everything has been build on heterosexuality and cisgender roles. Basically we had one sexuality, one gender and sex. And gender and sex were one and the same thing. If you exhibited other behavior, like attraction to your own gender/sex you were an abomination.
There weren’t many cultures in the old days that allowed other kinds of attraction and/or gender exhibition.
And this is something that society has been holding on to throughout the centuries. Any behavior that was deemed out of the “norm” was to be suppressed and “cured.”
You can still see remnants of it today. There are still some people who think that homosexuality is something to be cured.
We can thank many narrow-minded people and religion for this frame of thinking. Religion of any sort has played a mayor role in this. All of the mayor religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam ban homosexuality and different gender expression outside of your own predestined sex.. And they still do today to some extent. Saying things like we are abominations and that we go against God’s plan. But the important question to ask here is, do we?
But anyway, lets plunge into what is today. So even though we see new terms for sexualities and gender identities emerging, since people can be more free about it nowadays, the majority of society is still made up of heterosexual and cisgender people, which by itself wouldn’t be bad. Just so that we’re clear, I’m not saying heterosexual and cisgender people are bad. However, a significant part of these people are very narrow minded and are influenced by religion and other inputs. And they see heterosexuality and cisgender tendencies as “natural” and “the norm” for people in general. And people are still being taught this today, in school, by parents and by society all around through it’s projection of heterosexuality and cisgender in movies, ads, books, music, art and more. It is a remnant from our past that is still very much alive. People simply see that there are only two sexes and genders and one “real” sexuality. And the only valid and right bond is only between a woman and a man. And from here it projects into all aspects of our lives. But we can’t forget about the bodies by which we are ruled, by governments. We are being ruled by narrow-minded, cold, cruel, selfish institutions. That too has a driving force in our society.
But where does sex and relationships come in? Everywhere! The same way we are taught about heterosexuality and cisgender we are taught about sex and relationships. Not exactly in the same way, but to some extent. Children are taught that everyone will want sex once they are older, that everyone is doing it. Same with relationships. And if you take a look around you, you notice that these two are also portrayed everywhere. Movies, books, music, art all talk about relationships and sex. How many times have we seen that the hero is rewarded by sex after a good deed is done. Or when people get together at the end of the book or movie. You got sex and relationships in ads. They are counting it will interest most people when they put in a sexual subtext, or something about relationships. It’s all out there for everyone to see.
What does this do? It makes these aspects of life a must. Something everyone “normal” does and has. It makes it something general. Sometimes people just stop thinking about other options or the fact that not everyone has to fit these narrow requirements. No, sometimes they themselves start enforcing them because after all that’s what we are taught.
But now you sure wonder how is that bad. After all the majority of society is heterosexual and cisgender, so it may be fair to some extent, right? If people can find the other possibilities on their own, why should people learn about this?
Well, it is not necessarily good and I will explain why. First off this is telling people who they should be, what they should be, what they should be doing and wanting. Anything else is wrong.
Now imagine that you are not straight or not cis. And you live in a world that tells you who you should be, what you should be, what you should and shouldn’t be doing and wanting. Now, I know homosexuality is more and more accepted, but it is far from perfect and there are more sexualities and gender identities out there. And you live in this world that tells you all these things and doesn’t really educate you on anything else. And of course, you feel different. Different form what people around you experience, do and talk about. How do you think you’d feel? I’d imagine isolated, weird, wrong, broken and many other things. And this is something thousands of people, young and old, have to go through every single day.
Still think what this society is doing is okay?
I will take it further.
Not only does part of society tell you to be a certain sexuality and gender, it also tells you to go find a boy or girl and have sex and relationships. And as if isn’t enough here comes religion, if you have one, telling you this. And that anything different is wrong. And if it’s not considered wrong,then it’s too “different”,which somehow gives others the right to treat you as though you’re a different being altogether. Others protest against you as well as your identity and love. Some tell you to get fixed or therapy, or they themselves sometimes claim they can fix you if you give them a chance. And it still goes further. Some people bully you for who you are and for who you love, or how you love. I know this because I’ve been bullied myself. I am trans, but I was hiding and people thought I was gay and seemed to like making me more miserable than I already was. And if that isn’t enough some can harass you, even assault you. Do you know just how many LGBT related deaths there are in America alone? Dozens, if not hundreds a year. Many of the victims will never be identified because of how mutilated their bodies were. Their murders never usually solved. 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT, according to Williams institute. http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Durso-Gates-LGBT-Homeless-Youth-Survey-July-2012.pdf
Yes, sometimes when parents find out their kids are LGBT they kick them out. Many think that when they have LGBT kids they have failed as parents. But the truth is when you can’t be there for you child, that’s when you fail as parent. The rest may be for religious purposes and other reasons. It is sad, but many think it is the right thing to do.
Society can be scrupulous, cruel and cold. Do you still think it’s right? Do you still want to be part of it?
Teaching the types of things can be very harmful in how it makes people feel and what it makes them do. Many LGBT folks can be depressed. They can resort to self-harm or even commit suicide because of this.
We have to show children that there are many sexualities and gender identities and show them that it’s nothing bad and there is nothing wrong with others or themselves. That they need to show respect because we are not really different, we are still human.
As for sex and relationships, well, the current situation forces young people into both sex and relationships. And not just our youth.
It’s just another stereotype. Everyone has to have sex and everyone has to want relationships. If you do not you are wrong and need help.
What we need to do is show youth that waiting for the right person to have sex with is okay. We have to show them that not wanting sex at all, or not being interested is okay too. We have to show them that not wanting a relationship, or waiting for the right person to show up is okay as well. Not everyone has to be doing it, nor does everyone have to be interested.
Our society has a habit of saying that any love that isn’t sexual and/or romantic is less valuable or isn’t real love at all. Yet all love is equal. No love is better than the other. Yes, one sort may be more important to you, but ultimately it doesn’t make it better. All love, may it be sexual, romantic, platonic in nature, or involve friend and family ties, is equal. It just depends on what you prefer. And not everyone has to feel the same things in the same way. Same goes for sex. Not everyone has to be thinking about and experiencing it the same way.
Sex and romantic relationships are like any other pleasure of the world. You don’t try every one of them, nor do you like them all. Same goes for sex and romantic relationships. They are just other pleasures. Yes, the majority enjoys them, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to, or even does.
And from the way sex and relationships are portrayed in importance and how it should and shouldn’t be done, from here comes a lot of the shaming. Some people don’t have it, or don’t have enough. Others have too much. It has its root elsewhere, but this adds to it as well.
You don’t have sex and/or want it? You are a prude, a tease. You are a waste of a human being.
This is a very wrong message we are sending out. And I’m saying we because you and I are also a part of society. And we all must take some responsibility. It is also our responsibility to change these stereotypes and make life easier for so many people.
So, what have we taken from this?
There are more than two sexualities and there are many gender identities. And the children should be taught about these in order to develop a better understanding and respect for their peers and learn how to better support them.
Same goes for sex and relationships. We have to teach them that some people just want to wait because they don’t feel ready yet and that it is okay and should be respected. As well as not everyone has to want/like sex and/or romantic relationships. It doesn’t matter for what reason, if someone is asexual, non-libidoist, sex-repulsed/averse, disinterested in sex/relationships, aromantic, romance-repulse/averse, disinterested in romance, or just enjoying their freedom being single. All these are possible and surely there are more of which I just can’t think of at the moment. But they exist and are real and valid.
And so this is what we should teach them. Teach this not only to our young ones, but the whole society. Teach and support people of different sexualities, gender identities and/or interests. We have to teach understanding, respect, support, equality and love. And that one doesn’t have to like someone, nor be a full ally to let people live their lives.