Coming to terms with one’s gender and sexual identity is an emotional rollercoaster that has very few parallels. It is a unique and difficult time, and one of the places people routinely seek comfort is within their own community. The LGBTQ community is often described as a place where everyone is welcomed with open arms, where you will be accepted no matter what, and will always have a shoulder to lean on and a hand to guide you. So what does one do when they find out that it is startlingly common to feel ostracized and ridiculed by the very people who were supposed to accept you?
The LGBTQ community has evolved so much over the years, originally being specifically for the “LG” part of the group, and later on expanding to include the other sectors we are familiar with now. Despite this growth, not everyone within the community agrees with the changes. You don’t need to delve very far into many groups before finding people claiming that “bisexuals are just indecisive, they need to make up their mind” or people shouting that bisexual people who date members of the opposite sex are not “true members” of the LGBTQ community. Down this same road, you’ll find people mocking gender fluidity as “nonsense” and transmen and women as “traitors to their own sex” who don’t belong in the community at all.
It can be hard to see and hear, and it shatters the sense of family that the LGBTQ community is so well known for. Infighting within the LGBTQ community is one of the most unreported problems there is, and it can leave one feeling even more lost and upset than they had before seeking help. If the people who are most inclined to understand and support you instead lash out, what are you supposed to do? Where do you turn if even those who are closest to grasping your struggles, simply demean or attack you?
While gatekeeping and toxic behavior in the LGBTQ circle is not going to be eradicated overnight, there are still ways to find support. One way is to start small, and eventually branch out as you go. For example, instead of joining large LGBTQ groups or forums, look instead for groups specifically for your identity. Join a forum for transmen and women, or for bisexuals, or even just a group for those who are questioning. This greatly cuts down on the input from others who may be on the offense for identities that don’t align with their own, and as you get to meet and trust others, you can ask for their referrals to larger LGBTQ communities they know and trust.
Part Of The Family
It is important to remember that while it may seem like there are more people against you than on your side, those spreading hate within the community are the minority. They can be a loud minority, but their numbers still pale in comparison to those who actually do understand and want to help. For every one person who hurls insults, there are countless others you will find to support you. Don’t let words of hate trick you into thinking you are alone because it couldn’t be further from the truth.
No matter what the naysayers and toxic members of the LGBTQ community say, remember that you ARE a part of this family. Their hate cannot take that away from you, and it does not make you or your identity any less valid. While it is okay to acknowledge the hatred others may spread and how it can make you feel, the most important takeaway is to not let it control or define you. You have no obligation to prove anything to anyone, and you don’t need to fight to show that you belong, because you already do – and that cannot be taken away.
We are here to help and listen to you at True You Southeast and have therapists that are part of our team to help you process these emotions. You can reach out to us at 404-800-7586 or via email here.