American writer and publisher E. B. White once said:
“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.”
This is one of the biggest challenges to the better understanding of the LGBT community and their situation in the current society. All the hatred, resentment, bullying or even subtle efforts to maintain a “safe” distance – all have their roots in mass scale irrationalities.
The huge amount of misinformation and baseless beliefs that already exist, fuelled by political and religious agendas is what drives a majority of the society to be against the LGBT people. But what they fail to understand is that their stance against homosexuality or non-normative genders makes as much sense as protesting against the earth being round. We all know how that one turned out, though.
Coming back to the point, over the years, countless lies and myths have been circulated about the LGBT people; and unfortunately every one of them have been believed and have had scary repercussions at some point or another. Criminalization, mob attacks, public bullying, ousting from family, denial of education and employment – no humiliation have been left out from being inflicted upon the members of the LGBT community.
Here we list 5 of the very common myths that exist about them.
- DESIGNATED GENDER OR SEXUALITY CANNOT BE QUESTIONED
In many movies or books which have transgender characters or people who are questioning their gender or gender-fluid, we often see their parents or friends saying, “God doesn’t make that kind of mistake”. Same goes for homosexuals. But given that these have been recurring natural phenomenon for ages, not only in humans but also in the animal kingdom, maybe the All-Powerful had no intention of making any mistake in the first place anyway.
Gender has nothing to do with one’s biologically assigned sex at birth. It is an intrinsic sense of self-identity, individual to each person. Similarly, one’s choice of romantic partners is not related to what gender he or she conforms to or doesn’t. Questioning to identify one’s gender or its absence or fluidity and sexuality is very much a psychological process and important for exploring oneself.
- HOMOSEXUALITY IS CONTAGIOUS
Parents have been forever worried about their children ‘catching the gay’ from other homosexual people by mixing with them or being friends with them. Even though almost every psychological and physiological surveys and tests conducted about the same strongly claims that there is nothing which can “make” a person get attracted to the same sex, the fact just doesn’t seem to get through. This myth has an inherent heterosexist inclination – does anyone ever wonder what “causes” a person to be straight? The very existence of this question makes homosexuality look like something unnatural.
- SAME-SEX COUPLES CANNOT BE GOOD PARENTS
At present, around 26 countries allow child adoption or birth by surrogacy for same-sex couples, but the laws and conditions of adoption vary from country to country. But at the end of the day, parenting and upbringing of a child comes down to how the parents are as human beings and what gender or sexuality they conform to is hardly of any consequence, as studies have proved. We have a plethora of example of incompetent and abusive parenting by heterosexual couples all around the world. Families that strictly followed the socially laid down gender roles have been seen to be broken apart because of lack of mutual compatibility. The same can happen in case of same-sex couples too. But there exists no valid argument for the belief that the homosexual nature of the parents’ relationship is the reason behind any of the child’s troubles. If it ever is, it is probably because the child have been bullied at school for having two mothers, in which case the fault doesn’t really lie with the parents.
- IT IS A MENTAL ILLNESS
Probably the oldest notion about the LGBT community, it is a wonder that this still exists even in 2017. We have read in historical articles about how different countries, influenced by the political-social-religious authorities have unleashed their ruthlessness over the LGBT community. The struggle was heavily imbalanced because only a handful of people dared to come out in the past years, and those who did, there were actual punishments regularised by the State to condemn them.
A bright example will be the great mathematician Alan Turing’s chemical castration by order from the British court and his subsequent suicide right after he helped the country win the war with his Turing Machine that broke the Nazi Germany’s Enigma code. Even though the Queen apologised much later in a public announcement via the the-then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, it does not alter the fact that since the old times till now, homosexuality is considered as an ‘illness’ – something that needs fixing and can be fixed with enough humiliation and lack of support.
- BEHAVIOUR OR LIFESTYLE DETERMINES SEXUALITY
An effeminate man is gay and a tomboy girl is lesbian – is yet another long nurtures myth about the LGBT community that has its truth skewed. While it is true for a certain percentage, it is not all-inclusive. A man with so-called feminine behaviour can be very much straight and a woman with all her feminine grace can be totally lesbian. The people who still believe otherwise, we can just assume they have never heard of Ellen Page or Matt Bomer.
It all comes back to the basic concept of gender and sexuality being largely a thinking process, rather than a biological one; and most definitely not a social or political or religious one. A person can choose to be anything and with anyone he or she wants to, as long as it is consented. That is all that should be there.