Are you LGBT+phobic? Chances are, you may be (Even if you are LGBT+)

Some of us are okay with not liking/ accepting LGBT+ persons even though we hate being called “homophobic”, come on, even racists don’t like to be called “racists” even though they are.
MOST of us would like to think that we have grown, we un-learnt many of the stereotypes and hate that society has taught us, and we say we accept LGBT+ people, but there’s the “but”.

BUT…

I don’t understand their lifestyle, I don’t care to.

Why do they need to be out like that?

Must they be in movies, media, or on the streets si much? Why must they be in the education curriculum?

I don’t want them around me, or touching me.

I can’t have an LGBT+ child.

This “but” equates to that “but” that comes after, “No offence” and, “I’m not racist”. Better believe, offence is coming and you’re about to say something hella racist!

If a “but” comes after, “I’m not homophobic”, chances are you may be. Even if you’re in the LGBT+ community.

Let me tell you why.

Understand that there are levels of LGBT+phobia and how people express them.

The Bigots

The most obvious ones are the persons who openly despise lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and other sexual and gender minorities. They protest against equal rights campaigns, they openly use derogatory terms (antiman, fish, battyboy, coxin), they continue to spread misinformation and peddle stereotypes, and they will insist on mis-gendering and mis-labelling persons (calling them he/she, it, shem, or “whatever”).

They are almost unmovable. They will reject education on sexuality and gender, in fact, they don’t want their knowledge to grow to our modern understanding of ourselves. They are content with what their religion and culture has taught them.

Ask them this, “What is the difference between sex and gender?”, and you’ll get a 1920’s answer: “It’s the same thing. You were born with a penis or a vagina as God made you and anything else is unnatural“, as if the science of sexuality and gender hasn’t revealed much more than their black and white understanding of sex and gender.

Not much more to say about bigots than I already have, they are practically unmovable.
They really believe society is trying to force “gay people” on them, and they are being indoctrinated by corporations, vaccines, the media, and law – some of this may be true 😉

The delusionals

Then they’re the ones who tell themselves that they’re not LGBT+phobic because they don’t do any of the above BUT there is a “but” at the end of their self-proclamation.

They may acknowledge that LGBT persons are now part of society; and they think everyone has the right to be themselves – but in private and away from them or their children – they refuse to truly acknowledge that LGBT+ persons are just that, persons. They see them as a community rather than an individual, they are actually the biggest carriers of the stereotypes:

LGBT persons are loud, promiscuous,

LGBT persons are diseased-filled, carriers of STIs and HIV,

LGBT persons will try to throw themselves at me, or seduce me,

LGBT persons like to party, do drugs, live carefree,

LGBT persons are not to be trusted,

LGBT persons contribute to the moral decay of society.

They are the quoters of this funny-ass line, “You can be gay. Just not around me” (see what I mean about delusional?!)

These are the types of people that are embarrassed by LGBT+ friends and family, and feel uncomfortable around them in public.

In fact, for this category of LGBT+phobes, they are deluded into seeing the rainbow and letters more than they see an individual. They see sexuality as a lifestyle more than they do as an identity, an inkling of who someone is.

Sex and gender are not lifestyles, it’s an identity with lived realities that are shaped by society. We get to individually determine how we want society to influence how we identify – whether it be LOUD AND PROUD as a celebration, a middle-finger, or freedom of expression; or we can choose to be quiet champions, social examples, and do-gooders, or we can choose to put ourselves in that same box society has designed – queer, but very quiet and discreet about their sexuality.

The delusional LGBT+phobes can be reasoned with though, they don’t stubbornly hold on to their beliefs like bigots. As they grow, and interact, and travel, and read… they learn.

I like ask them to think about how they feel about LGBT persons, and replace “LGBT” with “Black” when they make generalised comments.
If they cringe at the thought, then it’s a self-realisation that they have hidden prejudices (unless they are homophobic AND racist. Which isn’t an unusual combo, but at least they’ll now they’re socially incorrect).

I also ask them to think about the “WHY” a person is the way they are when it comes to stereotypes:

Why do you think LGBT persons are loud?

Why do you think they are promiscuous?

Why do you think they are disease carriers, do you know the dark history of why AIDS was considered a “gay disease”?

Why can’t you trust LGBT persons?

Why do you think LGBT persons are being given “too many rights”?

It starts with a conversation, it ends with understanding.

It takes patience. But not everyone has the time or energy.

It is sad to think that many of our friends fall in this category. They say things like “God loves you but not your sin”, “tone it down when you’re around me”, “OMG! You’re my gay best friend!”
Having a gay friend isn’t for comedy or to agree that your man is trash (okay, it isn’t JUST for that.)

My advice to queer folks:

Beware of the people who smile at you and call you friend but do not “support or agree with your lifestyle” and you “parading for rights”. They don’t consider you equal to them or needing freedom from discrimination, why should you consider them your equals when they’re the ones that don’t want you to be and live happily as yourself?

Their delusion is dangerous, because when you need them to support or protect you, they aren’t there, even when you desperately hope they would be.

The hypocrites

In Islam we are taught they are seven levels of hell, and the lowest level of hell where the fire burns hottest is reserved for hypocrites.

These hypocrites come from the LGBT+ community itself, in two forms: Self-hate and self-righteous.

The self-hating hypocrites are closeted LGBT+ persons who HATEEEEE sexual and gender diversity because they need to convince themselves, over-compensate, and increase that hate of LGBT persons to minimize that feeling of same-sex attraction, and gender diversity within themselves.

They are absolutely terrified to be associated with, or being around LGBT persons in fear of being “outed”.

So they appear as bigots – preaching and campaigning against LGBT rights, rejecting LGBT equality and speaking ill of persons, surrounding themselves with the same crowd – whether in Church or at anti-LGBT rallies so they can double-up on that need to suppress their desires; they even get into heterosexual relationships to try to convince themselves that they can live the perfect hetero life.

This is why it is well-known that the most homo-bi-trans-phobic persons turn out to be LGBT+ themselves.
Many anti-LGBT politicians and pastors were caught in homoerotic relationships and situations.

In 2019, the founder and lead therapist of a faith-based gay conversion therapy programme, McKrae Game came out as gay himself.

See TIMES Magazine article here: https://time.com/5668351/mckrae-game-comes-out-gay-conversion/

and in PEOPLE Magazine: https://people.com/human-interest/conversion-therapy-founder-comes-out-as-gay/

My personal favourite: a married, anti-gay politician, Jozsef Szajer of Hungary had to resign in disgrace from his seat as a Member of the European Parliament after he was caught fleeing from a gay orgy in 2020.

The BBC Report: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55145989

And the New York Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/01/world/europe/jozsef-szajer-european-parliament-resignation.html

Then they are the self-righteous in the LGBT+ community. It’s not all rainbows and sprinkles as the media would like you to believe.

The hate and toxicity in the community are real:

Lesbian and Gay persons may look down, reject and exclude persons of trans experience. Trans persons are not even fairly represented in many LGBT organisations and socio-political agendas, other than the letter “T” they’re reduced to. Very sad considering it was the cross-dressing, drag-queen, and trans community that started the Stonewall riots to gave us the LGBT visibility and freedoms we relatively enjoy today.

Many trans persons do not get dates from LGB folks, for many, they are even seen as “too out”, which the closeted folks described above will avoid and reject, even on their journey of self-acceptance and self-love.

Trans persons also receive discrimination and harassment from LGB persons. They are told to “pick a side”, and often told how they make the movement too complicated when it comes to the gender education, bathroom, sports, medical insurance issues.

Lesbians also feel unwelcome in Gay spaces, in fact gay spaces dominate the media, entertainment, campaigns, etc. that lesbians are usually just grouped into the “Gay/ same-sex” experience rather than upheld to share their unique intersectionality of women’s health, feminism, gender justice and sexuality.

It is a community saying that the natural predator and rival of the gay man, is the lesbian.

(Modern family reference – Mitch and Cam)

Bisexuals are also asked to “pick a side” and are told by LGT persons that they are “confused”, “unsure”, “aren’t real”, then there is a quarrel in the community between bisexual and pansexual persons. Not going to go into that but yup, there is bi-erasure and pan-fakeness.

And then they’re the gays. The gays have so many classes but the most obvious one of them all is elitism and classism.

The white collar gays look down on the sex workers, they prefer to have and enjoy their rights without being visible about it.

The blue collar gays (rightfully) think the white collars are stuck-up and do not have their best interest at heart.

Then they’re the simple, quiet gays who despise the loud, flashy, colourful gays that are “too out”.

They all hate each other.

So yes, more than likely you have some sort of prejudice against LGBT persons. As a society we have come a long way due to education, visbility, and awareness campaigns BUT the last 20 years of LGBT PRIDE hasn’t erased the last 200 years of violence, discrimination, harassment, prejudice, killings, rape, and exclusion of LGBT+ persons.

The trick is:

  1. See “people” as individuals: their real lives, their experiences, their existence.
  2. Understand who they are, what they are, and why they express themselves the way they do.
  3. Respect that people are naturally different, people are diverse, people are colourful.
  4. Defend that every single person deserves the same human rights and freedoms that you enjoy.

Here is a video to help you understand the humanity of being LGBT, and to hear precisely from the Caribbean queer community what we want from society.

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Jairo Rodrigues is a Women Deliver Young Leader, Human Rights Advocate and Social Change Projects Coordinator specializing in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and programmes related to gender relations, women empowerment, youth development, and LGBT Rights.

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