Being a member of the LGBTQ+ has had a different meaning to almost every generation. Throughout the years, misconceptions have arisen and as society has changed their views on the matter, so has the role that the community has played in their eyes.
In the 1970’s, being gay was associated with HIV, a disease that often led to AIDS. There is no current 100% effective cure as of today. Today, it has been determined that the disease was transmitted and further mutated into HIV from its simian counterpart (the original disease came from chimpanzees and was exposed to humans when we hunted/ ate their meat.). There has since been a musical written about it, staged in the mid-to-late 70’s, since the virus has been recorded as present in the states, called Rent.
There is also a giant misconception/ stereotype about the ‘gay best friend’. Personalities like this often appear in media, from characters such as Damien Leigh in Mean Girls (2004), Kevin Keller in the 2017 televised series Riverdale, Tanner in the 2014 film G.B.F, and so many more. Ever since the beginning, being gay has been related to less masculine characters, and always the sidekick. In reality, none of these things are ever entirely true. Being LGBTQ+ doesn’t mean you should expect yourself to fulfill the role of the sidekick. Sometimes, being your own hero is important.
There’s also a stereotype against homosexual people of colour. This specific topic was featured in the 2016 film, Moonlight, which features a gay black youth named Chiron who struggles to find his place in society and avoid the life of crime his father raised him in. There is absolutely no correlation between race and sexuality, thus there should be no misinterpretation that people of colour can’t be members of the LGBTQ + community.
Over the years, there have been so many influential members to the LGBTQ + community that have made an impression in the media and in society. These are people who inspire us to have a voice in shaping what society believes is “right versus wrong”. There are so many people in pop culture today that are strong allies or are a part of our community, Tyler Oakley, Troye Sivan, Mitch Grassi, and Scott Hoying, to name a few. There are also so many people in the past who have helped create the world we have the rights to live in today. People like Bayard Rustin, who helped give Martin Luther King Jr’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech an audience. Like Audre Lord who was an author that explained about intersectionality, about how there are so many different types of people within our community. People like Marsha P. Johnson who led the Stonewall protests, one of the most important events leading up to the gay liberation movement.
There are so many trailblazers that people look up to in our community that have helped changed the way our rights have evolved throughout the years. So many influences that have shaped the society we live in today.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.