Gender and sexuality are delivered to you the moment you enter this world. The hospital qualifies you as a man or a woman from the moment you are born. Your family offers you toys to play with based on your birth sex: toy guns, toy cars and trucks for a boy, and princesses, dolls and kitchen sets for a girl. You are also presumed from your birth. You will be asked if this person is your girlfriend / boyfriend as soon as you start talking to someone of the opposite sex. You are told that this is who you are, and you are not given a choice to disagree.
You don’t wake up one day deciding “you know what, I’m gay” or “I don’t want to be a girl anymore, let’s change the sex”. You don’t just ‘decide’ your sexual orientation and gender. No, that’s not how it works. Yes, you may have realized that you don’t fit typical gender stereotypes or don’t want to date someone of the opposite sex, but you also have to understand that none of this means making a choice. . Likewise, a boy who prefers to play with dolls, rather than stereotypical trucks or cars, does not imply that he is gay. He doesn’t “choose to be gay” one way or another; he chooses to play with dolls because it is something he enjoys doing.
Being labeled as “cis” and “straight” from birth can make children who don’t fit those labels feel alienated and disabled from the start. This discrepancy often makes them feel like they are not part of that life and can cause issues like gender dysphoria, feeling that their biology does not match their identity.
They are also often made to feel lost and invisible in their own homes. A child, from birth, is assigned gender roles. For example, in many homes, if you are a girl you learn to help around the house, and if you are a male you learn to take care of the family financially. Society has reinforced this notion to the point that every child is terrified of questioning their sexuality or gender identity because they are afraid of not adjusting to societal norms. They are afraid of the consequences that will happen to them if they fail to integrate.
When families instill these prejudices in their children, their children can become so engulfed in mental anguish that they are unable to recognize themselves. To cope with this lack of acceptance, young people resort to secret therapy appointments, drug addiction, poor mental health, etc. In fact, in a 2021 Trevor Project survey, about 70% of LGBTQ youth said their mental health was “bad” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, only one in three LGBTQ youth found their household affirmative, and 42% of youth reported symptoms of major depressive disorder at some point in their lives.
The fact that they don’t feel at home in their home and face anxiety issues just because their identity is not what society wants exposes them to poor mental health. Parents need to stop labeling things as “for girls” and “for boys” and start letting their children know that gender doesn’t matter the way society might say it.
As a pansexual half-girl, I can assure you that sexual orientation and gender identity are not personal decisions. I didn’t suddenly “choose” not to be straight or to use the she / they pronouns on a whim. At some point in my life, I just realized that no, I’m not comfortable with just his pronouns. I’m not just attracted to guys. I don’t identify as a woman and I’m definitely not straight. I am neither cisgender nor heterosexual, and no one can tell me otherwise. Knowing your identity is not an overnight process.
I did not choose my orientation to “follow the trend”. Nor have I decided to be tormented by homophobic and transphobic people all over the world. According to the BBC, homosexuality is punishable by death in more than five countries and could lead to imprisonment in 70. This is not what I had planned for my life; that’s just who I am.
People have lost sight of the simple concept of identity and over-complicated such fundamental issues as gender and sexuality. Just declaring that you are gay or trans can make people of traditional and conservative culture gasp as if you have murdered someone. The word “gay” sometimes even functions as a dirty word in our society, an insult against weak guys, used even by children in elementary school. Boys who are not physically strong or who show emotional vulnerability are told: “stop acting like a girl” or “you are so gay”.
Bullies use these slurs, along with slurs, to demean others because of the stigma surrounding gender non-conformity. They begin to see homosexuality as a threat to “the way things have always been”, which they believe to be heterosexuality, but in reality, they are simply the ones who impose heterosexuality and try to take away the right. to identify in the way that some people want. .
We humans are the ones who made a simple concept like love so difficult to understand. Identifying yourself as LGBTQIA + doesn’t diminish your worth as a person, and you still deserve to be treated like a human being. You still deserve the love of your parents, and you still have the right to be happy. You should be proud of yourself for mustering the courage to face public contempt. It doesn’t matter whether your identity is accepted or rejected by those around you. You are a human being. You are real. You exist. And yes, you exist as the person you choose to identify with, not the one that society has forced you to identify with.