Sexuality and Gender are valid, regardless of whether or not they are scientifically backed. In other words, if someone feels they are some identity and tells you Who They Are, just respect them for who they are right there in that moment regardless of the “why”.
When I look back at my childhood, the signs and experiences of my sexual preference leaning more to women are littered throughout a confused flurry of memories and lies I told myself for survival. I’m pretty gay, and I always have been–but I haven’t always known or let myself know. I played straight kind of well–and lived the lie well for most of my life.
I told people I was straight for years, and nobody questioned it. Nobody asked why, or asked if I was sure (except maybe a close friend or two who knew some of my experiences with girls). It was a norm that was expected of me and so it was never questioned until someone knew about my high school girlfriend or something. Nobody really questioned my straightness, or my cis-gender and yet there is this part of society that seeks to ask why we are gay, trans, queer, non-binary, asexual, intersex, kinky, polyamorous even though they’d never ask why THEY are straight, cis, monogamous, vanilla, or binary.
It would be one thing if they were asking “why” to further understand and accept us, to integrate our experiences into their empathetic consideration and broaden their minds to include us in their perception of reality. However, this is rarely the case. As we see, people need to know how to fit us into the boxes their anxious minds have accepted as “Only Truth” and when we don’t fit, they claim we are mentally ill, invalid, confused, disturbed, or just gross.
If I have learned anything about the human psyche, it is that for someone to actually understand something when they are in a space of resistance, their ego’s game must be played. Their resistance must be met where it lives and their ignorant delusion must be validated in order to then be invalidated with broader perspective and fact. That said, I’d like to address the delusional aspects of people’s opinions of us quickly before explaining why they are irrelevant to the validity of our identities and preferences.
For many people on the LGBTQIA spectrum, we either know from a young age or later see that we SHOULD have known from a young age because the signs were always there. It’s something we feel as a truth of our reality at the core of our being, even if we don’t want it to be (due to internalized phobias from an abusive environment). Unfortunately, our community is one in which mental illness is VERY common because the abuses we suffer are extreme and target the core of our being in macro and micro-aggressive ways every single day. Many people misunderstand this phenomenon and think it must be the illness causing the LGBTQIA spectrum identity, but WE can tell you it is the treatment we receive for existing somewhere on that spectrum in a world with limited understanding of that diversity that causes the illness.
The assumption that a person is less valid in their identity because it may be a creation of their mental illness is laughable to many of us, but also probably something we’ve thought about if we were gaslit enough as children. However, since I know that is a suggestion of some of our oppressors, and some of our own abused minds even, I present two counter arguments to those who might believe such things.
First, the most commonly acknowledged treatment for any mental illness is for external parties to BELIEVE THE DELUSION (reality) of the “ill” person because often that is exactly what the person needs to heal themselves and live a healthy life. I generally have a love/hate with the word “delusion”, as it suggests a lack of reality, but the way in which I mean it is not necessarily trying to demean the experience. I think many realities, if not every reality humans experience, is some kind of delusion. We can look at love as a desperate means to escape loneliness, fueled by powerful drugs–oxytocin and seratonin. We can look at religion as a desperate means to escape fear of death and the unknown. We can look at ALL identity as simply facade and ego protection. The more we learn about the mind, the more likely it is that everything we experience is an illusion and creation of the mind–which is commonly know as a DELUSION when it is not shared by others or seen as fitting in to shared reality. This said, if my identity is a delusion, so is yours. Being straight and cis-gender is not a strict reality in history, in nature, in mind, and clearly not in the present world, as my existence proves. The LGBTQIA+ community, who is just as valid in their existence as anyone not in that community, is a testament to that–because all humans are equal in their inherent value and existence, and so are their realities, even if those realities are seen by outer parties as a “delusion”. In short, You cannot invalidate one reality without invalidating them all–or else you are a victim to a supremacy complex and your mind does not inherently see through the eyes of equality–meaning YOU are mentally ill with Narcissist Personality Disorder or something like it. If your eyes do not see through the eyes of equality, truly YOU are the one who is ill–lacking in empathy and the ability to comprehend that which is new or different. Cognitive dissonance. Narcissism. These are the illnesses of ignorance. So either all of our experiences make up the whole, on equal grounds of validity, or none of them are real and we are all useless carbon creatures on a tiny planet in the middle-of-nowhere-whatever-space-is-blah.
Still, that said, even IF my identity were a result of mental illness (which is a result of both Nature [my biological sensitivity] and nurture [the abuses of those who sought to make me straight and cis]), a queer and non-binary identity and life is what my hurt mind needs to exist in this world, that MUST BE ACCEPTABLE. If it is not, the only other choice I am given, personally speaking as a depressive/dissociative/anxious being, is suicide or death by not living. Mental illness is chronic for many of us, and when it is severe it cannot be CURED, only coped with and made less severe. If my coping is to avoid men for the rest of my life and not see myself through the eyes of binary gender, THAT MUST BE ACCEPTABLE or the only other choice I have is death and misery.
So basically, assuming that all humans are valid and equal, and we all exist on an inherently equal plain of reality, even IF someone’s identity as LGBTQIA is the result of emotional trauma, mental illness, confusion, experimentation, etc, IT IS STILL VALID AND DOES NOT NEED TO BE JUSTIFIED BY SCIENCE OR RELIGION TO BE ACCEPTED.
Self identity is, for all of us, necessary for the calming of the mind. Truly, I am sorrowful to anyone who sees themselves strictly through the eyes of others, as I have been there before and it is SO very painful to the core of my being. But even that is my own perception of someone else’s reality, and may be a misinterpretation of how they live their lives. If someone needs, even for a moment, to see and be seen, themselves, as something, why does it matter to you? If that is what they need, and it’s a matter of life or death, why not just let them have what they need to live? It’s so easy. And yes, people do need things for survival and for some of us it is something as abstract as expression of our Selves in a way that is outside the accepted “norms”.
My second, and more important argument is this–you should not assume you know someone better than they know themselves. If you are projecting what you SEE someone as onto them as their identity, you are seeing them, and asking them to see themselves, through YOUR eyes. Basically, If you hold, in your heart, a respect for another human being then their identity should not matter to you insomuch that you don’t accept who they tell you they are. Also, you should try to hold respect for every person you meet as an individual beyond that which you SEE them as. That is respect. That is giving one the benefit of the doubt.
Love is a thing beyond this world and who we are in it, but we have to live every day in a painful and harsh reality too. Regardless of anyone’s spiritual beliefs, just living in a human body is painful for some people, and they should be allowed to seek any perspective they need, so long as it is self reflective and not projective, in order to live in peace with their own mind, body and reality. Identity is something we ALL assume in some form or another. The identities which should be offensive are not the one’s which seek to validate self through reflection and discovery, as the LGBTQIA+ community does. If any reality is to be questioned it should be those realities which actually hurt other people, those rooted in ignorance and supremacy, which lack empathy, compassion, and basic psychological understanding, because those hurt our species and our world. I only say that even because those identities (such as alt-right or evangelical extremists) seek to draw lines of limitation and separatism, breeding a certain assured self-destruction of the human species.
Point is–if someone wants to “Switch to girls cuz men are trash”, still fucking valid.It does not mean all lesbians are man haters, and it doesn’t mean others weren’t born gay. It means, that person found themselves to be prefering women. That doesn’t mean it’s a choice, and it doesn’t mean other lesbians weren’t born gay. It’s a spectrum, all reasoning accepted. If someone wants to “Identify as asexual for now” because they’ve been traumatized and can’t imagine sex anymore and don’t feel connected to sex at all, it doesn’t need to invalidate anyone else, and it shouldn’t be used to invalidate asexuality in general. By the principles of equality, the mind creating our perceptions of reality, and the self being a part of that, that identity is still valid and it may be what they need to heal from trauma, and it may be who they were born as and they are just now realizing it. Asexual is a spectrum on which the “Why?” can be many things–as is gender and sexual preference.
Stop thinking that how YOU see someone from the outside is how THEY experience themselves from inside.
That’s often not the case. And if you think what you see from the outside is more valid an identity for THEM than the one they know and feel from inside their own life and mind and body, YOU are the one projecting. YOU are the one forcing someone else into YOUR delusion. YOU are the narcissist, and YOU are the one who is ill and harming others with your illness.
When someone shares their inner reality with you, their inner experience of themSelves, it is a gift.
It is a serious insight into something and someone so divinely different and yet so divinely the same and your Self. It is the universe meeting itself, it is God, it is love and empathy and vulnerability and faith and grace. It is the connection we all need and seek to some extent. It is interdependence. It is expansion. It is intelligence. The seeing of the world through someone else’s eyes, the seeing of someone else through their OWN eyes, these things are invaluable gifts being shared with you for the sake of mutual growth toward universal love and acceptance. To dismiss them because it challenges your reality is to turn down this gift to maintain the comfort of your delusion–at the expense of someone else AND your self-growth.
So here’s my final statement. Some of us were born this way, some of us discovered ourselves late, some of us still aren’t sure and are exploring to find where we fall on this vast spectrum of infinite possibility, some of us are scared, some of us are hurt, some of us are sure and some of us are questioning, some of us are going to be one thing for the rest of our lives and some of us may change identities with outfits. Regardless, because we know who we are and what we need better than anyone outside of us knows, we are valid and our identity, expression, and preferences are valid. We do not need a scientific, spiritual, or psychological justification to be LGBTQIA+. We do not need societal validation to BE valid. We are inherently just as valid as all others, because no one reality gets to decide what IS and IS NOT truth. It is ALL realities that come together to create the balance of creation and truth in the universe, including those which challenge 2000 years of invented and conditioned imperialist “normalcy”.