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As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I am well aware of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the community. There are a lot of different things that encompass the LGBTQIA+ umbrella and many people from outside the group have preconceived notions. Many times, if people simply asked, they would be able to understand and debunk these misconceptions. However, people usually do not take this step and instead decide to keep their misbeliefs. 

I wanted to go to the source, my school’s GSA (Gender and Sexuality Associate), to find what misconceptions they have seen in our community. The results were wide and staggering. I wanted to highlight some of the more important results I saw. 

First, I’ll talk about binary genders, like transgender and cisgender. Someone said they had heard the phrase, “Cis is a slur.” Other people are told they “need to pass” as whatever gender they identify as. However, many people talked about how they were forced to act the stereotype, which just reinforces gender roles in society. Transgender people have a whole separate set of expectations. They are told you have to conform to all the gender norms. They said if you do not conform then you cannot “pass” as their gender. Transgender individuals are often not accepted as their gender and are misgendered. People who transition are told they have to do every aspect of transitioning or they are not transgender. And even people who transition are told “you are just trying to trick people,” or “you are just confused and want attention.” 

On the other hand are non-binary genders, which encompass intersex, gender queer, gender nonconforming, agender, non-binary, and genderfluid. People who are in this category are frequently told to “pick a gender,” or “choose a side.” There are very common misconceptions about non-binary genders, which include thoughts like: “there isn’t a difference,” “they are trying to be special,” “they are just following others,” “it’s a made up trend,” “they’re confused,” “want attention,” “it doesn’t exist,” or “they’re bored.” Many people don’t understand the wide variety of ways a person can express themselves as non-binary, and believe it is only done through clothes. There is a lot of controversy regarding the pronouns they/them as well, and many people say this is not grammatically correct . Intersex people have a separate set of misconceptions. They are told that they cannot fit in anywhere. 

 When it comes to sexualities, the first I will discuss is homosexuality- this refers to individuals who identify as gay or lesbian. There are many physical expectations of this group that they are forced to try to fit into. Gay men are told they should have high pitched voices, be flamboyant, have a good sense of style, be interested in drag, and be hyper-feminine. Lesbians have a separate set of expectations, for example: that they are hyper masculine, aren’t really gay, just haven’t found the right guy, and hate men. With gay relationships, there are also a lot of expectations for there to be “guy” and “girl” roles in the relationship. It is expected that one guy must be the flamboyant gay many or one girl must be the butch lesbian. 

There is also bisexual attraction, like bisexual, trixic, and toric, which is attraction to two genders. There are a lot of rude comments this group hears like “they are just promiscuous,” “indecisive,” “greedy,” “sex obsessed,” “passing through a trend or a phase,” “cheaters,” “confused,” or “just want a threesome.” They are told they have to have equal attraction to both genders, when in reality they all have different percentages of attraction to each gender. They are told that they have to pick a side and they are expected to just be gay, lesbian, or straight. 

There is also polysexual, which is attraction to more than two genders. These can include polysexual, pansexual, and omnisexual. Society often feels this is too complicated. They are told they are “sluts,” “attention seekers,” “being picky,” “being selective,” “are too much,” “are basically straight,” “it’s just made up,” and “not valid identities.” Polysexual individuals are told “they are just settling for whatever they can get.” It is also assumed that all of these identities are basically the same. 

The last thing in the LGBTQIA+ community is attraction, including panromantic, polyromantic, biromantic, homoromantic, asexual, aromantic, demisexual, and demiromantic. People in these categories typically lack some sort or level of attraction for people. They are told because they feel this way, “they are repressed,” “emotionally closed off,” “are robots,” “looking for attention,” or “that it is a normal feeling for everyone.” Many people feel that those in this group just haven’t met the right person yet, but when they do they will feel that way. Sometimes these aren’t even considered part of the LGBTQIA+ community. There is also an overwhelming idea that they don’t feel any sort of attraction at all, but they can feel some levels of attraction. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg of things people falsely say and think about the LGBTQIA+ community. There is also a misconception that you can’t identify as more than one thing in the community. This is not the case, as identities can and do overlap. 

These misconceptions are unfortunate and say a lot about society’s views of the LGBTQIA+ community. The only thing we can do now is fight and debunk these beliefs, and try to educate people on what these things really mean and how much every identity can vary from person to person.

Julianne is a Junior at Adelphi University. She is a mathematics major and in the STEP education program. She is apart of the Her Campus, GSA, and Future Teacher's Association clubs at her university. She likes to write, bake, and travel.
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