Wednesday, 19 September 2012

LGBT - Why is it so hard to accept?

I wonder how many people in Ireland have, today, used the term “gay” in a joke or an insult. I overheard a joke merely a few hours ago, and although I find it disgusting that people so casually mock the term, I found myself laughing at the joke itself. I can assure you I am in no way homophobic, as you will soon understand for yourselves. What I can’t comprehend however, is that on paper Ireland is overall accepting of LGBTs (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender), but when put in a situation where LGBT must be faced, the reactions are disappointing, for want of a better word. People (very obviously) stare, they shout insults, and even do physical harm to anyone that may even look LGBT. I would refer to LGBTs as “gays” for the purpose of this post, but I find that extremely offensive. They are not all the same, no matter how much you insist they are.

One aspect of LGBT that I found extremely interesting was researching the flags and symbols that represent the different communities. Most people would be familiar with the rainbow flag which is associated with gay pride, but not as many would know the others. For bisexuals, the flag consists of three colours: pink, which represents homosexuality, blue which represents heterosexuality, and lavender which is a mix of both colours and represents bisexuality. Bisexual Pride Day is September 23rd and is something I will proudly and openly be supporting.

What the majority of you possibly don’t realize is that Jews weren’t the only ones murdered in the Holocaust; gays were too. Along with the six million that were recognized by their Star of David badge, gay men were forced to wear a pink triangle badge on their clothes. If you were a Jewish homosexual, you had to wear a pink triangle overlapping a yellow triangle. Lesbians and feminists were forced to wear a black triangle, but were not put to death like the men. It amazes me that in the midst of a world war, Hitler found the time to make pretty little pink badges to be worn by a small number of 3000 men. Yet there is no mention of those innocent men that were brutally killed in our history books. Why it has been decided to overlook this vital fact while including Hitler’s failure to gain entrance to the Fine Arts Academy, is beyond me. Homophobic murders; painting…

What is it like to “come out” in this day and age you ask? Well, let me tell you. I announced my bisexuality in January of 2011 and to be quite honest, got little or no abuse considering I attend an all-girls school. Then again, maybe I did but just didn’t hear about it. Either way, I got the best reaction I could’ve asked for. Possibly because I kept it to myself until I was sure, avoiding rumours and gossiping which can and have destroyed people’s identities. I think in a way I gained respect for being myself. I’ve been told I was “so brave” for doing it, but I’m not going along with that bravado. Genuinely it’s because not a fuck was given on my behalf if people didn’t like me; I had enough haters as it was.

So yeah, there’s my secret: blind faith that nothing would change. The only bad side of it was that the only constant but not intentional abuse I got was from my closest friends, but I eventually learned to block out their careless use of the word “lesbian” and their rare, sly insults.

Just think about it, how many programmes are televised regularly with LGBT references in them? Let me list a few obvious ones: Eastenders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks (probably every soap on TV), Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, Desperate Housewives, and many more. How many of you watch one or more of those shows? I would expect most do. Now how many of you feel the need to shout insults at the screen when one of the LGBT characters appear? Very few I assume. So then why do it on the streets or on the internet, in schools or in workplaces? You’re completely contradicting yourself. Also, think about all the open LGBT celebrities out there. Ellen DeGeneres, Graham Norton, Angelina Jolie, Lady GaGa, David Bowie, Billie Joe Armstrong, Freddie Mercury; the list goes on. If it’s okay for them to be open about who they are, why isn’t it okay for us ‘nobodies’? Explain that, society.

In 2004, the Constitution stated that same-sex marriages are not recognized in Ireland, yet this year a survey was carried out showing that 73% of Irish people think it should be allowed. Fifteen gay and lesbian couples have tied the knot in Kerry since civil partnership was introduced in Ireland last year. Nationally over 700 couples have taken the plunge. Same-sex civil partnerships now account for 2.6% of all partnerships in Ireland. If you are one of those 73% that voted yes; thank you. You may, unbeknownst to you, have impacted my future.

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