LGBTQ2IA -Marie Olsson

LGBTQ2IA:

L: Lesbian

  • A homosexual woman.

G: Gay

  • A homosexual, especially a man.

B: Bisexual

  • A person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction to people of their own gender as well as another gender

T: Transgender

  • Denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.

Q: Queer

  • Historically, this was a derogatory slang term used to identify LGBTQ+ people;
  • A term that has been embraced and reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community as a symbol of pride, representing all individuals who fall out of the gender and sexuality “norms

Or

Q: Questioning

  • The process of exploring one’s own sexual orientation, investigating influences that may come from their family, religious upbringing, and internal motivations

2: Two-Spirit

  • a term traditionally used by Native American people to recognize individuals who possess qualities or fulfill roles of both genders

I: Intersex

  • a person with a set of sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit within the labels of female or male (e.g., 47,XXY phenotype, uterus, and penis)

A: Asexual

  • a person who generally does not experience sexual attraction (or very little) to any group of people

Or

A: Ally

  • a heterosexual person who supports the LGBTQ2IA community.

I personally identify as bisexual. When I tell someone I am bisexual I often get asked a number of things:

“Which gender do you prefer?”

Do I have a preference? Yes, I do, whoever makes me happy. I like both genders fairly equally, possibly men slightly more. Yes, I flirt with women more, but I’m more likely to make a flat out advance on a male. I check out more females then males.  I’ve been with (relationship wise and sexually) more men than females.  Very few of these factors actually have much to do with my preference; the main factor is more so situations that present themselves.  There is a part of me that although I flirt with women more, I’m more shy actually voicing how I feel about her then I do men.  With men it’s easier, whether it’s because it’s seen as the social norm to be with them or due to the fact that I never am sure when it comes to women.  I am more open, at ease, and feel safer with women.

“How are you sure? / How do you know? / When did you know? / Since when were you bisexual?”

If that was something I could answer easily I wouldn’t have half the issues I do.  It took me years to realize that feeling the same towards females as I do towards men was not normal… Well not in the straight sense at least. I thought all females appreciated another female’s good looks, I mean how could you not.  Apparently that’s not normal, at least not beyond the ‘oh, she’s pretty’. As I got older the signs got a bit easier to separate from what someone who’s straight would think.  I don’t think a straight girl would think of kissing her female friend, or have fantasies about another woman. Straight woman don’t want to date another female, don’t get turned on by another girl. When I realized my thoughts towards other female were not purely platonic is when I started knowing my sexuality did not conform to the accepted outline of heterosexuality or being ‘straight’.  I knew I was not straight when my first sexual encounter was not with a male, but a female… However I still did not know what my sexuality was… at that point I had heard of being straight or gay, I did not know there was a middle ground. I was utterly confused, I knew I liked boys; but I liked girls in the exact way.  It wasn’t until I was thirteen when one of my friends used the term bisexual, and then explained it to me, that I started to question if that was the correct term for my sexual preference. So you could say I knew I was bisexual at the age of fourteen, when I had a term for it…  Or you could say I was nine, when I started wanting to kiss another girl.  I think the when part is irrelevant, just because that’s when I realized I was bisexual doesn’t mean the day before I wasn’t. I always was, I just didn’t realize the difference, nor did it really matter.

Do I ask when someone realize they are straight? No, because that’s silly… Just as ridiculous when someone asks me since when have I been bisexual…? Because as much as I dislike Lady Gaga I will say it ‘Baby I was born this way’.

“How was it coming out to your parents?”

To be completely honest I have never actually said the words ‘I am bisexual’ to my dad, I think he knows but we’ve never had a discussion concerning it. To be even more completely honest, I never actually had to say it to my mom either.  In a way I think my mom knew I ‘batted for both teams’ before I completely came to terms with it myself.  When I was fourteen I was talking about this friend I really liked and how amazing they were, not being very specific on gender but not really being blatant in hiding it either.  I was mentioning that I didn’t know how she’d take to me dating and she turned and asked me “You like Stephanie (names changed obviously) don’t you?”… Which I admitted to and then the “are you bisexual” questioned popped up.  So how I came out to my mother was a series of ‘yeses’, followed by her going “I knew it!”.  My mother was very supportive, and we both agreed she wouldn’t say a word to my dad until I told him myself.  In a way she was the first person who I actually identified as bisexual to, I mean others knew I liked girls, but I never linked myself to a term before then. If anything I am extremely happy my mom was the first one to know what I used to identify my sexual orientation, I’m even happier she completely accepts me for it.  I’m not one to hide the fact that I’m bisexual, I’m a fairly open book in general though.  Most people know I’m bisexual and if you ask I’ll probably tell.  I’m just lucky I’ve gotten very little lash back from people who found out, and those who didn’t approve were not very close to me anyways.

Or my personal favourite, any variation of “So you’re down for threesomes?”

Ok, I hate this question with a burning passion, especially when it comes from romantic partners.  Just because I like both women and men does not by any means mean I want both at the same time or within any short amount of time of each other.  It does not mean if I am with one I want to add a person of the opposite gender to the mix; it does not mean I want to share that person with another, even just sexually. Lets put it this way: I am a very jealous, shy and territorial person. If I am dating a person I am very unlikely to willingly share them with anyone else in a way that should be reserved for just us.  Whether or not I am ‘down for a threesome’ has absolutely nothing to do with my sexual identity, so for anyone who thinks they are linked please unlink them.

The first three don’t bother me as much as the fourth; however they still get annoying to hear after a while.  I am thankful that I myself haven’t really come across anyone I care about that has opposed my sexuality or thought bad about me for it.  However I have been bullied for my sexuality through the years, all through secondary school really.  It was five years of non-stop harassment and abuse.  It was slightly funny really though that the people who I cared about their opinions had no qualms with me being bisexual; but those whose I could care less about wanted to voice their concerns about it.  They voiced it very publicly, very loudly, very crudely and extremely often.  Sometimes it hurt, but not when they said it to me, but when they would drag my friends into it.  When my closest friends got harassed for my liking females.  That’s where it hurt, when it not only affected but hurt my friends.

Let’s have some fun and get into some facts and stats now shall we?

From http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/bullying-and-sexual-orientation-by-the-numbers-1.909444 :

“Actual or perceived sexual orientation is the number 2 reason students are bullied, according to a 2005 U.S. survey. Appearance was the number 1 reason.”

The idea of bullying someone for any reason is terrible to me to begin with; but to bully someone on what YOU THINK they are and not what they are is even worse. You cannot justify bullying for any reason, and it’s sick that sexual orientation pretty much tops the charts and that appearances are the only thing higher than it.

In Canada (2009 Canadian Climate Survey on Homophobia):

  • 59 per cent of LGBTQ high school students reported they were verbally harassed, compared to seven per cent of non-LGBTQ students..
  • 25 per cent of LGBTQ students indicated being physically harassed due to their sexual orientation, compared to eight per cent of non-LGBTQ students
  • 73 per cent of LGBTQ students reported they felt unsafe at school, compared to 20 per cent who did not.

That’s a pretty big difference just for verbal harassment alone… A 52 percent difference to be exact. I’m not all too surprised, but a little ashamed to know how bad the numbers are.  We’re talking 2009, I was 16 years old, these were my fellow peers.  I grew up bullied for my sexual orientation (which was perceived for the longest while), but I didn’t know how bad it was statistically across Canada.  I can’t find more recent data but I could only hope it has gotten better.  As for physical harassment, in my opinion 1 percent of the entire population is too much, never mind these statistics.  School should be a safe place.. not a place where youth feel unsafe.  A lot of people already have issues wanting to go to school, they should not also have the burden of having to worry about their safety as well.

In the United States (2009 survey of U.S. students in grades 6-12)

  • 85 percent of LGBTQ students reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
  • 40 percent reported being physically harassed.
  • 19 percent reported being physically assaulted
  • Compared to Canada, fewer of the American students, 61 per cent, reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation.

Oh boy, and I thought Canada’s 59 percent was bad, 85 percent having been verbally harassed in that year?!  This is outrageous, there needs to be a major change that happens to society.  I think society needs a better awareness of the affect others actions and words have on a person.  Society doesn’t need a blanket to shelter us from the problem, Society needs a helping hand to fix the problem so no one else gets hurt. The problem is not ones sexual preference, their gender or anything about them. The problem is that society and some people in society think they have a say in another person’s life.

From: http://mygsa.ca/setting-gsa/homophobia-transphobia-statistics :

Even more shocking are these statistics from a study that involved surveying over 3700 students from across Canada between December 2007 and June 2009:

Levels of sexual harassment are high across the board for LGBTQ students. The following groups of students reported having experienced sexual harassment in school in the last year:

  • 49% of trans students
  • 45% of students with LGBTQ parents
  • 43% of female bisexual students
  • 42% of male bisexual students
  • 40% of gay male students
  • 33% of lesbian students

This is sick, absolutely sick. I’ll be honest here, I cried reading these stats.  Two topics I am highly passionate, LGBTQ2IA and sexual harassment/assault, compiled into one list of statistics that are way too high for my liking.  I could talk about this for quite a while, however I think comparing it to these statistics: “A recent Ontario report found that the rates of sexual harassment in schools are significant, with 36% of boys and 46% of girls in Grade 9 reporting that “someone made [unwanted] sexual comments, jokes, gestures or looks at me”.  By Grade 11 this rate had declined significantly for boys, but remained consistent at 46% for girls (Safe Schools Action Report on Gender-based Violence, Homophobia, Sexual Harassment & Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in Schools 2008, p. 6)” (From: http://www.sexualassaultsupport.ca/page-535883 ) Takes it away from being just an issue that is so prevalent for LGBTQ youth but for everyone.  Making me question, why is our society filled with so many people who think this is alright?  So many people who think so many different things are alright; who think they have the right to pass judgement or invade the space/privacy of another person?

Actions of one person can hurt another and that should never be over looked. There should be a conscious effort to stop leaving a negative fingerprint in others’ lives.

Stay Proud xx

Marie Olsson

Resources:

http://mygsa.ca/setting-gsa/homophobia-transphobia-statistics

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/bullying-and-sexual-orientation-by-the-numbers-1.909444

http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2013/01/a-comprehensive-list-of-lgbtq-term-definitions/

http://www.sexualassaultsupport.ca/page-535883

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