Exclusion in the Queer Community / by Miranda Barzey

Atlanta Pride just passed. Pride is a great time to celebrate our identities, but not everyone enjoys the luxury. Exclusion is alive and well in the queer community- and we need to fix it.

LGBTQIA+ activism has centered around the interests of gay men and lesbians, such as marriage equality, adoption restrictions, and societal acceptance of homosexuality. And that’s great! But marginalized groups such as bisexuals, asexuals, and gender nonconforming folks are being ignored by more privileged members of the queer community. We may have secured marriage equality last year, but there are still huge issues we need to address. Transgender people face high rates of murder, suicide, and homelessness. Asexuality is outright distrusted. And gay/lesbian spaces can be hostile to anyone that doesn’t fit the homo mold.

Why does this matter? Why should a gay man care about the struggles of an asexual woman? Well, the needs of queer groups are interconnected. We all struggle for societal acceptance, open expression of our identities, and freedom from discrimination.The past struggles of a privileged group can be mirrored by the current struggles of a marginalized group. For example, homosexuality was once viewed as a mental disorder the led to extreme therapies. (And hey, conversion camps are still a thing.) Many asexuals and transgender people face the very same issue. Their identities are seen something to be fixed, rather than accepted. Progress could be made for those groups if gay activists allied with their causes.

And this part should be obvious: we all deserve freedom and acceptance. As a community, we need to support every group's specific efforts so that we can all live well.

My hope is that as the gay rights movement doesn’t slow down just because major legislation has been overturned. It’s important to keep fighting for the rights of all queer groups so that we can live in a safer and more open world. Please remember that going into pride and lend your hand to causes across the queer community.

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