It’s estimated that one in ten of us are LGBT+, so surely by 2016, where there’s a newfound acceptance for minorites, it would be nothing new, just like Hayley Kiyoko’s ‘Girls like Girls’ lyrics state. Sure, homosexuality has always existed; a lot of the population believe that it’s just ‘more common these days’, but that’s probably just due to the fact people now have the freedom to express themselves. However, if around 10% of 7 billion people identify as LGBT+, you wouldn’t think it’d still be a taboo topic, as clearly it’s ‘nothing new’, but to many people, seeing two girls holding hands is still as shocking as it would’ve been one hundred years ago.
We’ve definitely entered a new dawn of sexual and gender freedom. I can’t even count how many YouTube video’s I’ve seen of individuals expressing their sexuality, and being gay myself, this honestly fills me with joy. I have multiple friends who identify as LGBT+, and all of us have been greeted with acceptance. Although a lot of us have experienced other people’s shock when they ‘come out’ to them. I can’t say that I’ve ever suffered any hatred towards me, but whenever I tell people about my sexuality I’m often met with ‘I had no idea!’ or occasionally ‘no you’re not! you can’t be?!’. None of it is meant in an unpleasant way, it just always seems like a bit of a shock to people when they find out that I’m gay, which makes me question whether homosexuality has truly been normalised yet. Yes, we’ve certainly come along way, and I think visiblity of the LGBT+ community has been greatly increased which has helped normalize same sex relationships and non cisgender individuals to the population, however I’m still used to hearing ‘oh my god look at them!’ whenever I’m holding hands with a girl, or seeing people’s suprised faces when I come out as gay. Sure homosexuality is nothing new, but I still feel like it’s out of the ordinary for many people.
In 2011, studies showed that around 64% of LGBT+ youth felt unsafe in their school environment due to fearing, or having experience with homophobic bullying, which sadly is even present in the work place. These statistics are shocking, as you’d think in this day and age students of all backgrounds would feel safe and protected, but still sexuality seems to make individuals a target for abuse, suggesting its still a taboo topic. However perhaps we need to start at the root of the problem in order to normalise homosexuality and create a safer environment for LGBT+ individuals. In my school, student’s constantly made remarks like ‘oh that’s so gay’ (and much worse) and not once did I witness a teacher do anything about it; clearly the anti-homophobia policy was lacking. I think if we educated children about tolerance and acceptance from an earlier age then perhaps the topic of the LGBT+ community would’ve been almost completely normalized by now and their would be a decrease in homophobia, and it would simply be ordinary to most people.
So for the time being, girls liking girls and boys liking girls may still be a shock to people. And yes, I still sometimes feel unsafe because I fear discrimination. But hopefully, with the right education and attitude, we can normalize the LGBT+ community to the population. Because after all, love has no gender. It’s just a shame that some people still can’t see that.
images sourced from: http://8tracks.com/explore/girl_x_girl