This Pride Month, Anti-Bullying Ambassador Leo is sharing his experience as a member of the LGBT+ community and why he thinks there is still much to do to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in today’s society.
1 June 2019
Pride month is important for me because it brings to light the problems that we as LGBT+ people face in society as a minority. Personally, I don’t believe that LGBT+ bullying is talked about enough in both schools and the media so hopefully this month will raise more awareness of the issues we face so that they will actually be discussed both in schools and in the media.
The most prevalent form of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia comes from those not affected by it. This is mainly due to an ignorance towards the LGBT+ community from people who do not understand the effect it has on others. For example, there is a significant amount of young LGBT+ people who feel unable to come out to their family and friends due to the pressure of society.
I, myself, have experienced this. Some members of my family made homophobic comments around me, making me feel unsafe to come out. It felt like I was hiding something big from them (because I was) and it was as if I couldn’t be myself. I am transgender, so every time those people said my birth name or she/her pronouns it felt as if I was taking a blow to the stomach. Over time this became unbearable for me, resulting in extreme anxiety until I eventually cut them out.
Gay rights are human rights. Hope is never silent. Love has no limits.
This is just one example of how homophobia can affect people. Studies have shown that the number of LGB people involved in a hate crime has risen by 78% since 2013. Other stats are just as shocking. Half of LGBT+ people hear homophobic slurs frequently around schools, while more than four in five young trans people have self-harmed. More than two in five young trans people have attempted suicide, while three in five young cis LGB+ people self-harm. It was also found that one in five young cis LGB+ have attempted suicide. These statistics demonstrate just how important it is to educate and inform people who do not understand the repercussions of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
LGBT+ hate can and does also happen within the community itself. You can see this on social media when individuals who are part of the LGBT+ community say that others should not be in the community, sometimes due to their gender or race. This is both harmful and hypocritical. Why should our community send hate towards each other when we know how difficult it is to be accepted? Our community should be one of understanding and love; to not appreciate this is ludicrous.
My suggestion of how we should deal with issues of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is to improve education in our society. Schools should do their part by including a more diverse range of people in day-to-day education (for example, including the LGBT+ people of history and literature) and reinforce anti-LGBT+ bullying policies which completely ban homophobic language and challenges homophobic actions. The media should represent LGBT+ issues in greater detail and be more inclusive. Hopefully this will educate everyone about the LGBT+ community more so there will no longer be such a large amount of hate and ignorance towards it. Our community needs to do our part too; we can achieve this through accepting and helping each other. Because if we show someone else empathy, then they will do the same back.
NEEDING LGBT+ SUPPORT?
Mermaids UK work to raise awareness about gender nonconformity in children and young people amongst professionals and the general public.
Works with the trans community and those who impact on trans lives; particularly specialising in supporting young trans people under the age of 21.
Switchboard provides a one-stop listening service for LGBT+ people on the phone, by email and through Instant Messaging.