University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

LGBTQ Comment Series, part 2: Gay is not a choice

The Badger

ByThe Badger

Feb 22, 2012

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Growing up as LGBTQ is not easy for any of us.

We live in a world where it is expected for us to be heterosexual, and the gender we were biologically born as.

However, life does not work this way and there are many LGBTQ people all over the world.

Sadly there is also a lot of ignorance, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

There is no common consensus among scientists about the exact reasons why a person is LGBTQ.

Research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, however no findings have emerged that allow scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.

There are a lot of myths and false beliefs about what makes a person Gay.

It is not due to an overbearing mother or a distant father, it’s not due to the colour clothing we wore, or the toys we played with.

You only have to ask any LGBTQ individuals to know that it is not a choice. I didn’t wake up one morning and think, “You know what, who wants an easy life? I’ll just be Gay, it will be fun to battle homophobia, have fewer rights than heterosexual people, and hide my sexuality for years out of fear”.

Though scientifically we do not know the exact reason why we are LGBTQ, what we do know is that we want to be treated with the respect and dignity we deserve; we want to be treated equally.

With this article, I ask that you think about what it may be like to be LGBTQ: to grow up and live in a world that is heteronormative; where movies and television shows offered us no insight into LGBTQ culture, (thankfully this is changing now so hopefully in the future young LGBTQ people will have the chance to relate to characters and hopefully witness positive role models).

Where the word Gay is used as an insult for everything nowadays; where the masculinity of sport fuels homophobia from school to professional teams; where it is acceptable for heterosexual couples to hold hands or kiss in public, but it’s ‘public indecency’ for homosexual couples to do so.

Being LGBTQ is not easy, and homophobia is something we sadly have to deal with.

A study in 2011 showed that LGBTQ teens are 5 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

This has to change and we need your help. If more heterosexual people can understand that homophobic/transphobic/biphobic language and behaviour has such a devastating and negative effect on individuals, and take account for and positively change their own behaviour, then maybe we can live in a more accepting and equal world.

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