Gay/Trans panic argument
The gay/trans panic argument: legal defense legitimizes and excuses violent and lethal behavior against members of the LGBTQ+ community. With this being allowed, people are openly homophobic/transphobic and are getting away with it. I asked a couple of friends who are part of the community about how they have had to deal with it, while also asking my straight allies about why it is important to keep on fighting for people in the LGBTQ+ community, as well as how they react when people are homophobic/transphobic.
The first person I asked these questions to was April Cruz, a bisexual woman. She hasn’t officially come out but is open about her sexuality. The reaction that people give her is usually one of shock. April says, “I don’t really bring it up but when I do tell people it’s like an ‘oh wow really?’ moment.” As she continues, she explains that people gawk at her for a bit, looking at her like she’s a puzzle. Over time, they get used to it. To add on to that, she says “ I am a woman, so I am very lucky that the backlash I receive isn’t as harsh as it is for gay men. Problems for me as a bisexual woman are fetishization and also having trouble finding a partner.” People have been fetishizing women liking other women for their own pleasure, a form of homophobia. “I’ve had friends in the past before who didn’t notice they were fetishizing lesbians/bi women.
He would say he wouldn’t want gay men to make out in front of them but if it was two girls he wouldn’t mind and he would just say ‘it’s different when girls do it’. This would always make me feel very uncomfortable and I just couldn’t be friends with someone who fetishized me and my community,” she continues.
She often struggles to find a woman’s love interest, causing her to feel disconnected from her sexuality. “I think what a lot of bisexual women deal with that isn’t spoken about, is society pressuring bisexual women to end up with a woman. I get conflicted sometimes because I think about only having experiences with men and if I do end up marrying one, does that not make me bisexual?” she questions. April explains that the only homophobia she has ever received is from her own family members due to their view on gay people. She chooses to be closeted to her family and out at school, for this is her safest option. She added that she is also young and will have more experiences with women as she continues exploring her sexuality.
The second person I interviewed was Jinx Elizarraraz, a non-binary folk. As for their experience, they said: “Well as for homophobia my mom reacted very badly and was crying because she didn't think it was right. I haven't come out to my family because I know they
wouldn’t understand, especially because there are no gender-neutral pronouns in Spanish so it would be hard to explain to them.” Adding on to that, they said that younger people have been more accepting when they came out as non-binary, believing that it’s important for representation to be normalized so it’s not shocking when people come out. They finish it off by saying: “being heterosexual or cis shouldn’t be the default because that creates problems that ‘oh you aren’t normal’.”
The third person I asked questions to was Brandon Craney, a pansexual male. He started off by saying that he hasn’t personally dealt with homophobia. He clarifies: “I haven't come out officially, but everyone I have come out to has either treated it very casually and friendly or asked a few simple questions I was happy to answer.” Although he hasn’t officially come out, the people that know haven't reacted in a harmful way; they have all been very accepting of him and haven’t been treating him differently.
Finally, I talked to two straight women regarding their viewpoints. The first person I asked was Kaylee Rivas. She started off by saying: “Being a straight person, it angers me that my fellow straight community can be so ignorant.” I then asked her why it’s important to fight for LGBTQ+ rights; she proceeds to say that it’s important to fight for them because not a lot of people are willing to do so now: “As a straight person, I have more privilege and it’s important I use that privilege for the benefit and give that community a voice,” she says. Kaylee has homophobic friends/family, but she continues to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community while trying to educate them.
The other woman is Samantha Hernandez. A similar reaction to Kaylee, she says: “How I react when someone is being homophobic/transphobic is it makes me angry and frustrated and we still to this day and age we have issues against people who are expressing their true selves and is irritating to watch people talk down upon someone they see as different but at the end of the day we are all human.'' She also adds on, saying that it is important to fight for the LGBTQ+ community because it is still a major issue: “As we have seen on the news or about people's personal experiences that they still face rude comments and are discriminated upon which is why it’s important to educate others,” she claims. She and her family are all very open when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community: “They try to understand people of all backgrounds as my family sees them for their personality rather than how they identify themselves etc.”
I want to finish this off with my own personal experiences. Me being a Latinx, non-binary, queer folk, I’ve had many experiences with homophobia, mostly from my parents. Living in a Latin traditional house, my parents are very strict with gender roles. The women are feminine, wear pink, play with dolls, are emotional, etc. As for the men in the family, they have to be manly, not show emotions, no wearing women's clothes or makeup, etc. You get the idea. As a person, I am feminine, and my parents are openly homophobic towards me. There isn’t really a way I've dealt with it; I usually just talk to some of my friends about it, and they help me out. Parents or even a close friend being openly homophobic/transphobic can really affect one’s mental health and their ability to express themselves.
This leads to the act of coming out, due to the ideology that being part of the LGBTQ+ community is not “normal,” making heterosexual, cisgender people the common standard.
Writer - Juan Ambriz (Featured Writer)
Editor - Priyam Kusundal
Graphics - Jhem Picache and Thea Sinsin