By Jacqueline Flores/Staff writer
It’s June again which means large corporations care more about profit than Pride. This month is more than just adding rainbow logos everywhere to their products, Pride recognizes the impact that the LGBTQ community has had on the world.
This movement is about uplifting the voices, culture and support for the community’s rights, such as the Stonewall Riots that began the movement. We also remember those who were victims of tragic LGBTQ hate crimes and violence, such as the devastating shooting at Pulse Nightclub in 2016.
Pride is part political activism and part celebration of what the community has achieved over the years. We still live in a society where business owners will refuse service and infringe on LGBTQ rights, causing us to lose our sense of belonging in certain communities.
For most people, romance is a mixture of excitement and mystery, but for the LGBTQ community, dating comes with extra hurdles. Family rejection and intolerant environments can break a person.
Having another person reveal your identity, no matter the reason, can be dangerous. It feels like having your whole privacy on display with your identity stripped. The right to your autonomy feels violated and you no longer have the privilege to explore your youth.
FIU political science student Darian Padrón went to high school with a person who exposed his sexuality to the student body.
“I wish I had that childhood,” said Padrón, expressing a longing for a privilege stripped away from him.
LGBTQ topics are taboo in school classrooms, which can make it more difficult for students to seek advice.
Roscoe Lecomte is a non-binary, international business FIU student, who realized their identity in high school, but their family was not accepting at first.
“How do you go to the school for help when being abused by parents about being transgender?” said Lecomte, who attended a private, Christian all-boys school.
They have a good reason to be wary of reaching out for help. Transgender people are over four times more likely to be victims of violent crimes than cisgender people, according to an academic article from UCLA School of Law.
The violence stems from homophobia and transphobia, people who have fear, hatred and/or discomfort with people who identify with the LGBTQ community. The behavior is a combination of primary social factors such as hierarchical gender norms, peer dynamics and economic and social disempowerment. It’s a reaction instead of a defensive act. This does not justify the violence.
Despite the challenges, we are still human and we want to be loved by someone as well. Society just favors the cisgender straight person. Cisgender describes a person whose gender identity is the same as their sex assigned at birth.
“We want to love in the same capacity that straight people do,” said Joseph Cusco, a gay, genderfluid FIU student, “but society says that’s wrong.”
Consider popular Disney movies for example. It’s always the basic happily-ever-after ending of the prince and princess.
It can be difficult to define what a queer relationship means when there is a lack of representation.
Modern cartoons now have more LGBTQ representation but have also faced the fear of public backlash. Queer actors were 6.7 percent of the top 10 recurring cast members in the top 300 programs on broadcast and streaming platforms in 2019, according to Nielsen’s “Being Seen on Screen: Diverse Representation and Inclusion on TV.”
However, there is a difference between presence and representation.
For example, “White LGBTQ people are more represented on-screen while female LGBTQ people of color and Latinx LGBTQ people are below parity compared to their population estimates,” said Stacie de Armas, Nielsen’s senior vice president.
“Gay people don’t grow up with people who are like them,” said Cusco.
Family is another hurdle for LGBTQ couples, they often get kicked out of their homes. According to True Colors Fund, a nonprofit organization aiming to end homelessness in the LGBT community, about 1.6 million youth are homeless each year. 40 percent of them identify as LGBT.
To put this into perspective, about one in five Gen Z adults identify as LGBTQ and can make up to 10 to 15 percent of the population. This makes it a staggering disproportion of homelessness among these populations.
Sometimes families only accept one identity. Ethnic communities reject their children’s ties to their culture if they identify as queer. Being a queer Black, indigenous or Latino person can often generate homophobia and racism, therefore individuals have a hard time fitting in their cultures and the LGBTQ community.
Family and friends make all the difference. Their acceptance is essential to survive in a society that can be intolerant. Without it, queer people fear for their life. Some have yet to come out in fear of rejection.
“It feels safer to have a partner who went through the struggles and journey”, said Sabrina Schrier, a transmasculine FIU Student studying English literature.
Pride month is about more than just showing off the colors we are proud to identify as. It’s about highlighting and bringing awareness to the struggles the community faces.
Each Pride month, we try to celebrate the most we can through the blood, sweat and tears it takes to be proud.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.