Our differences don't make us any less equal.
A stamp for members and supporters of the LGBT+ community to use if they wish!
There is so much wonderful natural variation in the human race. So many different shapes, sizes, skin colours, genders and sexualities, all in one species! ♥
But the fact so many people have been subject to or live in fear of marginalisation, discrimination or abuse, because they differ from a society-decided 'ideal' or 'norm' for any of those reasons, is so backwards. We are all human beings, each just trying to make our own way in a world responsible for creating us and our completely natural diversity. There is no 'correct' or default way to be a Homo sapiens, particularly when it comes to things that aren't a choice: and striving for equal rights across the board is a crucial endeavour we should all take part in!
What does LGBT+ stand for?
L - Lesbian: A woman whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender.
G - Gay: A sexual and affectional orientation toward people of the same gender; can be used as an umbrella term for men and women.
B - Bisexual: A person whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same and different gender, or towards people regardless of their gender. Bisexual people can have a preference for a particular gender.
T - Transgender: An umbrella term which can mean several things, e.g. Someone whose gender identity or expression does not fit within dominant-group social constructs of assigned sex and gender; A gender outside of the man/woman binary; Having no gender or multiple genders.
Transsexual: A person who lives full-time in a gender different than their assigned birth sex and gender. Many pursue hormones and/or surgery. Sometimes used to specifically refer to trans people pursuing gender or sex confirmation.
+ - Queer: Anyone who chooses to identify as such. This can include, but is not limited to, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and asexual people. Also may be used as an umbrella term like LGBT, as in "the queer community." As a reclaimed slur, it is really for the community's use only.
Questioning: A person who is not certain of their specific label or has doubts about being heterosexual/cisgender.
Asexual: A person who does not feel sexual attraction or a desire for partnered sexuality, although many do develop affectional romantic relationships. Asexuality is distinct from celibacy, which is the deliberate abstention from sexual activity.
Demisexual: A person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone.
Intersex: People who naturally (that is, without any medical intervention) develop primary or secondary sex characteristics that do not fit neatly into society's definitions of male or female. 'Hermaphrodite' is an outdated and inaccurate term that has been used to describe intersex people in the past. Did you know: there are about as many intersex people in the world as there are redheads!
Pansexual: A person who can have romantic, sexual or affectional desire for people of all genders and sexes.
Polysexual: A person who is attracted to multiple (but not necessarily all) genders or sexes (some prefer this term over bisexual).
There are lots of different terms (even more than those mentioned here), but it's important to understand them and respect each individual's right to discover and say for themselves who they are. A person's identity can be a big deal, especially if that identity is poorly-understood or marginalised. When presented with so many labels, even as a supporter it's tempting to say, "It doesn't matter, we're all the same!" - although meant with good intentions, it erases identity. Instead, the better way to look at it is: "We're all different, and that's completely okay!"
Also, please don't assume someone's age matters in their certainty of their sexual identity - I see many LGBT+ teens accused of being 'too young' to know who they are, or that they're just trying to be 'cool'. It isn't anyone's business to question or dismiss someone else's identity. Certainty can come with age and experience, but many people are sure of who they are from very early in life. If you've always been pretty sure you're straight - regardless of experience - it'd be annoying if someone who barely knows you questioned that, wouldn't it?
How Can I Show Support?
There is so much more to LGBT+ issues than just the legalisation of same-sex marriage: that is only one aspect. Far more needs to be done to ensure members of the community feel as safe and accepted in society as they should be, particularly when in some countries it is still considered such a crime to love members of the same sex that it's punishable by death. Please take the time to check out and sign the LGBT+ petitions held by organisations like The Human Rights Campaign, All Out and Change.org.
To better-understand the LGBT+ community or how to be a good ally to LGBT+ people, check out these links (and do more broad research):
I would add to the 'How to Be an Ally' list:
- If an LGBT+ person is present when you're in a discussion about their rights, identities, etc., always defer to what they have to say: they better-understand themselves and the issues they face. Your focus should be on amplifying LGBT+ voices rather than speaking for them.
- Because I've seen people do this: don't say the 'A' stands for 'Ally' (erasing asexuals), or add an 'A for Ally' to the LGBT+ acronym. Supporting a community doesn't make you a part of it, but that's okay and shouldn't make a difference to your alliance!
If you are a member of the LGBT+ community and have anything you'd like me to add here, please feel free to say so. ♥
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Psst.. remember to check out the rest of my stamp collection; there's guaranteed to be more you like! ♥Find me on: tumblr