“Cause baby I was born this way…”
Remember the song sung by the one and only Lady Gaga? It is so empowering that it reminds you to be who you are supposed to be. There is no need to change yourself to please others, you are living for you and not for anyone.
LGBTQ, an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. For the unfamiliar, these terms are used to identify a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. As time’s evolving, there are still many misconceptions about the said community and people who are still not open to the idea of them. It’s the new year and empowerment is a big thing just like how people are entitled to their opinions. However, in certain situations such as this, one shouldn’t be ignorant and be more accepting. The worst-case scenario is that if you can’t, just try not to be insensitive. Because at the end of the day, they’re still people with feelings.
Misconceptions of the community
Being brought up in a heterosexual community can make it difficult for many to adapt to the changes that are happening in the new world. However, it may be easier for Gen-Y and above to be more open and considerate as we are in the technology era that makes us be more aware of situations like this. Putting that aside though, some of the biggest misconceptions about the LGBTQ community is how they are abnormal and how it one can go from straight to gay from the influence of friends or movies. This is utter nonsense because, to be frank, every individual is unique and different even though they are born the same as many. It is not abnormal to be homosexual than it is to be left-handed. Also, some might also hear how gays are more feminine and lesbians are more butch. We can see how some can misinterpret these meanings but it is more of an individual’s personality than sexual orientation. There are many more misconceptions but these are just some that we’ve often overheard.
Malaysia, a country full of diverse cultures and people from different backgrounds. That statement alone would make people think that we are open to new (queer) situations and likely be more accepting. However, we would like to agree to disagree. We wouldn’t say that we are all insensitive but there are also some who take it more to heart than most. There are plenty of young social activists who aren’t afraid of voicing out their opinions and help defend the community. And honestly, that is something we need in our society. Millennials with great leadership skills who are willing to go out of their way to help people. Although nowadays people are more open and accepting, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are straying away from their beliefs. It is quite ridiculous about how society thinks these days.
Malaysia is a country that is not accepting of the LGBTQ community and is quite disheartening to know that the community doesn’t have the backbone to lean on to. Especially with many cases of the community being attacked and assaulted, there just seem to be no actions taken against their attackers or assaulters.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, Malaysia’s LGBT community has not only received rare jailed terms but are a target for attacks, making them fear for their lives.
“Already a target of violent attacks, online abuse and discriminatory laws, the LGBT community fears further attacks.”
We don’t know when we as a nation be open to allowing people to be who they are, but for now, we can just hope.
Difficulties faced by them
In this world where there are approximately 7.53 billion people, we think it is time and there is also no harm to accept individuals with different sexual orientation or gender identity. It is already a challenge for them to come out of the closet in fear of judgements and attacks, just to be themselves. They are proud of who they are and as a community, they accept being part of the LGBTQ label. Though there are still a majority of people who can be quite insensitive on this matter. It could either be in their body language, speech or even attitude towards them. Apart from that, for those who have discovered their identity, might face the pressure of suppressing their true self to the public. There is a lot of uncertainty of the consequences they might have to face upon coming out, but either way, it shouldn’t be like that anymore and we have as humans need to change our mindset.
At the end of the day, love matters
The world is changing for the better or so it seems. That said, it should be the time for us as a society to let go of being biased and have a clearer, open mind. We all have friends and even family members who are part of this community. Instead of belittling them, we should give them strength and support. Try to steer away from the negativity and the prejudicial hype train.
Pictures by Roxanne, Rose Dix, Felipe Balduino, Marcelo Chagas, Subashini Raj and Sharon McCutcheon