The Start of my Education

15 05 2012

I am so thankful there are so many great resources out there for people who want to be educated. I needed an education – when you deny something is real for most of your life and then suddenly find out it is real – then naturally questions come next! I couldn’t get enough information. I was soaking it up like a sponge. Here are a few of the first things I read. They are from the www.pflag.or website.

How does someone know they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender? Some people say that they have “felt different” or knew they were attracted to people of the same-sex from the time they were very young.  Some transgender people talk about feeling from an early age that their gender identity did not match parental and social expectations. Others do not figure out their sexual orientation or gender identity until they are adolescents or adults.  Often it can take a while for people to put a label to their feelings, or people’s feelings may change over time.
Understanding our sexuality and gender can be a lifelong process, and people shouldn’t worry about labeling themselves right away.  However, with positive images of LGBT people more readily available, it is becoming easier for people to identify their feelings and come out at earlier ages.  People don’t have to be sexually active to know their sexual orientation – feelings and emotions are as much a part of one’s identity. The short answer is that you’ll know when you know.

Can gay people change their sexual orientation or gender identity? No – and efforts to do so aren’t just unnecessary – they’re damaging.
Religious and secular organizations do sponsor campaigns and studies claiming that LGBT people can change their sexual orientation or gender identity because there is something wrong. PFLAG believes that it is our anti-LGBT attitudes, laws and policies that need to change, not our LGBT loved ones.
These studies and campaigns suggesting that LGBT people can change are based on ideological biases and not peer-reviewed  solid science.  No studies show proven long-term changes in gay or transgender people, and many reported changes are based solely on behavior and not a person’s actual self-identity. The American Psychological Association has stated that scientific evidence shows that reparative therapy (therapy which claims to change LGBT people) does not work and that it can do more harm than good.

Is there something wrong with being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender? No.
There have been people in all cultures and times throughout human history who have identified themselves as  lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Homosexuality is not an illness or a disorder, a fact that is agreed upon by both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. Homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association in 1974. Being transgender or gender variant is not a disorder either, although Gender Identity Dysphoria (GID) is still listed in the DSM of the American Psychiatric Association. Being LGBT is as much a human variation as being left-handed – a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity are just another piece of who they are. There is nothing wrong with being LGBT – in fact, there’s a lot to celebrate.
Discriminatory laws, policies and attitudes that persist in our schools, workplaces, places of worship and larger communities, however, are wrong and hurt LGBT people and their loved ones. PFLAG works to make sure that LGBT people have full civil rights and can live openly, free from discrimination and violence.

How can I reconcile my or my loved one’s sexual orientation with my faith? This is a difficult question for many people.  Learning that a loved one is LGBT can be a challenge if you feel it is at odds with your faith tradition.  However, being LGBT does not impact a person’s ability to be moral and spiritual any more than being heterosexual does. Many LGBT people are religious and active in their own faith communities. It is up to you to explore, question and make choices in order to reconcile religion with homosexuality and gender variance. For some this means working for change within their faith community, and for others it means leaving it.

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One response

15 05 2012
Melissa

What a great informative post ! Thanks for educating us 🙂

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