LGBT History Month: Safe Space
I have been erased and invisible.
I have been discriminated against by people who say they support me.
A place that was supposed to be my safe space ended up feeling like the worst place.
Imagine you've been discriminated against because of your sexual orientation, even by friends who don't realise they're doing it. On top of that, you've been having your own gender identity issues. The on top of that, you're a non-binary. You want to come out but how can you when you haven't truly been accepted for your sexual orientation? This is what I have been and still am going through.
My sexual orientation comes under the bisexual umbrella, I sometimes come out as bisexual for convenience. Regardless I still get the same discrimination for not being monosexual. Discrimination sucks but when it is done by people you love and respect, it can really make you hate yourself for who you are, for your lack of courage (for not standing up for yourself and your community) when it's not yourself to blame in the first place.
In some ways I still hate myself when I know I shouldn't but I’d be a lot worse if it weren't for two people. They are very important to me, they are my safe space and I love them both very much. I want to give some advice to reduce the chances of people like me feeling as low as I felt and sometimes feel. Educate yourself about people of different sexual orientations, sexuality and gender identities. Don't forget the + on LGBT+.
Educate yourself before claiming inclusive and safe space. Recognise and respect that sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity is different for people and they should not feel shamed or erased. Ask people their pronouns. Don't assume. Ask people what pronouns and names to use in front of different people. Don't out people without permission. Don't out people as something they are not. Don't refer to LGBT people as gay people. Only use an acronym if it applies to all (e.g. don't say LGBT people are discriminated due to their sexual orientation, use LGB instead).
Remember just because you're part of a spectrum or acronym doesn't mean you know everything about it. My main message is to educate yourself and not assume. Take a genuine interest, not just to please others, shut them up or tick boxes. If you don't have a genuine interest, don't waste your time pretending, just to shut us up. We want genuine allies.
I’m using this article as a public outing to help give me the courage to stand up for myself and others when facing discrimination. My new name and title should be legal/official by the end of the week. I am agender, neutrois and pansexual. My preferred pronouns are they, their and them. I’m going to create YouTube videos and tumblr posts in hope that it will help someone else like me. I hope one day to truly be proud of who I am. Educate yourself.