2017 really flew by. Remember Mariah Carey’s disastrous Rockefeller Center performance? Yeah, that was a year ago.
But as with every new year, there comes the hope for improving our lives. If you’re looking for some “new year, new me” inspiration that will challenge you to grow and help make things better for your LGBT peers, I’ve got you covered.
Listen, the patriarchy has done a number on all of us–including boys who like boys. The majority of us learned about sex through the heterosexual lens. Therefore, our feelings about sex are rooted in how we think about gender roles. In other words, we learned the person doing the penetrating is strong and the person on the receiving end is weak. It’s some deeply ingrained misogynistic bullshit that needs to be unpacked and left in 2017.
Your biphobia is hurting the Bs in the LGBT community. According to a Los Angeles Times report, bisexual people said they “avoided coming out because they didn’t want to deal with misconceptions” about their identity. Additional research shows that bisexual people are six times as likely to hide their sexuality and are more likely to engage in self-harm and have suicidal thoughts than lesbians, gays, and non-LGBT individuals. Yes, people can be attracted to more than one gender. Get over it.
Bullying people you think are gay
When you speculate and mock a person’s sexual orientation (yes, even celebrities), you’ve turned into the school yard bully who made fun of you for throwing, talking, or walking “like a sissy.” And if that person is indeed struggling with his or her identity, do you think your actions show that “it gets better”? Give people space and time to walk in their own truth.
Trying to “turn” your straight allies
I know a lot of us have fantasized or have had experiences with guys who identify as straight, but not every straight guy who’s down with the gays wants to secretly bone you. Our straight brothers and sisters are powerful allies. The public needs to know people from all walks of life care about equality. Just because your straight friend is kind, accepting, and shared Lin-Manuel’s “Love Is Love Is Love” speech on Facebook does not mean he’s a closet case, or you’re about to have a Call Me By Your Name moment.
Confusing pandering with allyship
Speaking of obsessing over straight dudes, let’s stop confusing allyship with pandering to “the gays” for media attention. In other words, Nick Jonas is not a gay icon simply because he posed shirtless for Out magazine and made some ambiguous comments about his experiences with dudes. We need to challenge media to increase visibility and the positive portrayal of LGBT lives and support the ones who do.
Thinking the fight is over
Gay marriage did not solve the alarming rate of LGBT homelessness and violence against the transgender community, nor did it come with equal protection in the workplace where we can still be fired on Monday after getting married on Sunday. There are many more things to get done on the “gay agenda.”
Shaming people with HIV
Trying to find fault in the actions of people with HIV to help you feel secure in your own sexual choices won’t work. Did you know the majority of new infections happen within “primary relationships,” such as a lover or boyfriend? Did you know that referring to yourself as “clean” to mean you’re HIV negative is grossly offensive? Did you also know that are studies which show that people living with HIV today have the odds of living a longer lifespan than the average person because they are more likely to monitor their health by avoiding drugs, alcohol, and making smart choices? Now you do.
I’m going to write about this topic until I can no longer type or until racism is more dead than Kevin Spacey’s career—whichever happens first. While I just love it when I go to a gay bar and see a sea of white gays singing along to Beyoncé’s “Formation” and talking about their love for the Jackson 5’s nostrils, while the bartender serves every white gay but me, I’d be fine leaving that in 2017. Also, putting “no rice, no curry” on your dating profile is still racist, not a preference. Fix it before 2018.
Saying you’re “straight acting”
So you enjoy sports over shopping and discussing craft beer over Beyoncé, but at the end of the day, you still enjoy having sexual relations with men and there is nothing straight about that. I get it. Being gay has been intimately tethered to being effeminate and society has taught us being effeminate is the same as being submissive and weak (there’s that misogyny again). But the sooner we cut out this femme-shaming and masc4masc crap, the sooner we’ll all be free to be our authentic selves and be accepted for showing up exactly as we are–not acting a certain way.
Not working on your mental health
In 2018, let’s spend as much time with our therapist as we spend with our trainer because minority stress is real. Minority stress is a high level of pressure faced by members of stigmatized, marginalized groups–especially folks who experience interpersonal prejudice and discrimination. That’s us. Let’s do the work.