Being part of the LGBTQ+ community means growning up in societies where we are not supported or embraced by the majority. If we are lucky enough to have a family or friends who support and love us for who we are, we all ingest toxic messaging about being “wrong,” or “sinful,” or “broken.”
These messages are not abscent in the queer community. Depending on your intersecting identities, you may be told you are “not queer enough,” or “not desirable,” or “not welcome” in the community for a variety of reasons.
This Pride, take a moment to look at your personal beliefs and start to unfuck your thinking in order to free yourself to embrace who you are, in all your wonderfulness!
5 Messages to Unlearn This Pride
1. Being LGBTQ+ is sinful or wrong per your religion.
Many of us are raised in families where religion plays a vital role. I am no exception. Wether you were raised in Evangelical Christiantiy, Judism, Islam or any other religion, you may have been taught that being gay is wrong and violates the tenants of the religion.
There are several ways to help unlearn this messaging. In most religions, the religious documents (e.g., Bible, Torah, Koran) there is little or no direct reference to being LGBTQ+. In the few religious tomes where homosexuality is referenced, it refers to a type of homosexuality which is not practiced today. For example, in the Bible, there are a few references to “men who lie with men,” and this is extracted to mean gay as it is practiced today. However, historically, the vast majority of “homosexuality” practiced during the time period these canonnical documents were written, homosexuality was largely confined to military practices between older soldiers and new recruites. There is no mention of lesbianism in the Bible despite the existance of Sapphic writings at the time. This leaves the interpretation to what was objectionable wide open.
Another way of unlearning is deciding what role you want the religion to play in your own life as an adult. Simply being raised in a religion does not mean it has to play a dominant role in your adult life. If you do choose to say with a religion, there are many denominantions which are open and embrace LGBTQ+ followers.
2. You are not queer enough.
UGH! This most often comes up for people who identify as bisexual. Today, bisexuals make up the largest segment of the LGBTQ+ community. So, as a community can we just stop policing how “gay” you have to be to enegage with the community?
You can be queer and not have slept with ANYONE! You can be queer and only slept with someone of one gender. You can be queer and have slept with only one person of the same gender. There is no quota of same gender sexual encounters you have to have to be “gay enough.”
If you identify as LGBTQ+, you are enough to be part of the community. Your old, queer Auntie says its cool to join us. You are queer enough as you are,
3. If you don’t love yourself, how can you love anyone else?
Can we stop with this BS. Our relationship with ourselves is very complicated. Our own histories, experiences, trauma and more can make it very hard to embrace ourselves as we are. It takes most of us decades of unlearning the messaging we grew up with. It takes decades of work to learn to love ourselves. This should not be a barrier to loving others or being loved.
You can love others even when you don’t fully love yourself. You are lovable long before you love yourself. Loving and being loved is never contingent on how you feel about yourself.
4. Gay masc privelege/Lesbian femme privledge
We have a couple of biases in the queer community we need to unlearn as a whole. Masculine gay men are seen as “preferrable” or “more desirable.” Lesbians tend to privledge femmes.
These “preferences” are based in heteronormativity. We are QUEER! There is absolutely no reason to give preference or priveledge to the members of the LGBTQ+ community who mimick the preferences of cis heterosexuals. Pride is about accepting ourselves and demanding we be respected without making heterosexuals comfortable. So stop giving femme women and masc men a better position in the community than the res of us sissies, faggots, butches, dykes, and genderfuckers.
5. Censoring kinky folks at Pride.
Kinky people are at the heart of queer liberation. Most of the major queer activists before 1990 were also part of the kink community. Part of this is due to the fact that leathermen and leatherwomen, people having kinky sex and others were targeted for violent police actions and discrimination. We were more visible so we were more targeted. We were the ones fighting hard for the survival of our culture. The reason you can celebrate Pride today by dancing on the “Budwiser” or “Google” float is because us kinky queers risked our lives first.
When you demand a “family friendly” pride or want to limit visisble expression of kink to a small corner of your Pride celebration, to dishonor the millions of us who fought for you. If you want to family friendly event, throw a picnic in addition to the bigger Pride celebration in your town. Create a small, gated area for “families” and let the folks who fought for your liberation celebrate Pride the way it was meant to be.