There’s no secret that the LGBTQ Community is broken and frowned upon. Socially, we are at the bottom of the barrel in terms of public importance. Families and associates constantly addressing us as ” that gay boy”, ” the butch chick” before addressing you as a person like everyone else. Being turned away by employers for living in your truth– it sucks. Our current president is even trying to take away the rights we’ve justly deserved for crying out loud. If that doesn’t scream ” Nobody supports me !”, then I don’t know what will. I’m with you, there are parts of society That do not support us, and we’re exploited to it every day.
However, there is an underlying narrative that we as a queer community fall victim to. We often cripple ourselves into believing that THEY are the problem. THEY are holding us back, and THEY don’t want us to be great. Its true, social norms, religion, laws and regulations, environmental factors and barriers such as racism and homophobia are all external forces that cause us to be stereotypically defiant and rebellious. These are the things on the outside that have power over our behavior.
As talented, beautiful, and deserving as we are, I cannot fully believe in a statement that claims that our greatness as a queer community lies within the hands of our unsupporting associates. That’s right! There are things on the inside of the community that is affecting our behavior similar to the external factors. The queer community has its own toxic internal factors that must be recognized before we can actively make progression. pointing out the bash we receive from other communities
“Our community wants homophobia, discrimination, and racism to end, but it starts with us”
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve done and said some dishonorable things that would be unacceptable to the queer gods. Growing up I was taught to look down upon the people I would now call my queer family. Unfortunately, shade and disrespect are natural within our community because that’s how the masses on the outside thought of us. It is a toxically accustomed way of thinking that continues to grow amongst us.
Don’t believe me? Just look at how HIV & AIDS is perceived in America. 30 years ago old white men and women believed that we were the scum of the earth who brought this disease into the country. Currently, the LGBTQ community will still associate the illness with terms like being a whore, dirty, nasty, and dangerous. It’s not only white imperialist defining us, but our own community too.
My job took its clients (who identify themselves as gay and bisexual men of color) on a retreat getaway to promote behavior change and safer sex methods. One of our activities required clients to collectively identify the characteristics they thought are associated with “Gay men”, ” Black gay men”, “Tops”, “Bottom”, and “Verse”.
Of course, there are a few positive terms on the posters above like “confident”, “strong”, and “hustler” ( depending on how you perceive the connotation behind it), but what about the many times the word “f*g”, “drugs”, and “cheater” popped up.
This is how our own community views itself. We are a marginalized community who seek social equality from our oppressors but are fine with weaponizing our own stereotypical narratives against each other. Why would any queer individual living with HIV advocate for HIV&AIDS awareness and education if his own community identifies him as a “whore” or “prostitute” for his condition? How can we introduce sex positivity to our younger queer community when it is their own community that will label him as a “sex-driven pig with no walls” for his sexual fluidity? Why would anyone build a stronger community when the community itself is obtaining gratification from self-destruction?
” How do we build a stronger community?”
- Switching The Language
The cause of many problems between people is not what we say, but how we say it. Instead of using words with judgemental connotations such as prostitute and whore, we can replace them with terms like sexually fluid or sexually active. An alternative approach when identifying someone is as a “bottom”, we can use appropriating language that doesn’t diminish one’s identity by describing him as a person who ENJOYS bottoming. Altering how we come across with our language will diminish half of the judgemental terms we use to describe the queer community.
2. See Something, Say Something
We’ve all been that person who sees something problematic in the community, and the first thing that comes to mind is “That’s not my business”. That’s a huge problem in terms of building community. Judgemental and weaponizing words like the “F” word become normalized and used every single day within the queer community. What begins to happen is that these commonly passed around phrases will leak into other communities who then appropriate the behaviors that we display. Before you know it, words that are destructive to our community will then be appropriate for use. When you witness hate within the community, step up and speak up.
3. Mutual respect
You know what they say, “What you eat won’t make me sh*t”. A phrase that holds many truths. We don’t have to personally like individuals in our community, but you should, however, have some respect….some. Who cares that your ex from 4 years ago slept with your best friend, and now you consider them the biggest “F” word in the world. When you have respect for each other, you will assist in ending toxic norms and stereotypes within the queer community that can eventually lead to the end of what outside communities thinks of us.