‘Gay’ is not an accusation

“Are you gay?” 

This quote is read by many as an accusation; possibly with a skeptical look, pointed fingers or a jesting smile. 

Straight people may answer with indignance. Many that identify as gay will feel ashamed or lie, while individuals that fall in between may not know how to proceed. 

In a society where comments like, “hate the sin, not the sinner,” and “I don’t care what they do; I just don’t think we should have to see it,” are commonly used toward those of different sexual orientations, and children in schools use the word “gay” interchangeably with “bad,” it is clear that a stigma still exists toward the LGBTQ community. 

Even the most palpable evidence that testifies in the name of an LGBTQ friendly America is occasionally called into question. Many still challenge marriage equality, and a recently leaked alleged executive order draft may provide justification for workplace, education and healthcare discrimination towards LGBTQ individuals on the basis of religious freedom. 

Society continues to see those of different sexual orientations as inherently guilty. The rhetoric used to deny LGBTQ individuals equal rights is interwoven into our culture– pegging the community’s members as sinful, less-than and lost. 

Diversity should never be an accusation, and when someone’s sexuality is called into question with the tone of a prosecutor attacking their witness, this is exactly the message that is sent. 

Honestly, there are few instances where it is appropriate to bring someone’s sexuality into question. Simply put, sexual orientation is a personal matter that no one is under any obligation to share. Addressing an intimacy such as sexuality is often overstepping boundaries by miles. 

On the rare occasion that sexuality is an appropriate topic to discuss, it must be understood that taking offense to the questioning of one’s sexual orientation is only perpetuating the notion that there is something wrong with a sexuality different than one’s own. 

Simply put, do not accuse others of being gay (or of any other sexual orientation), and understand that there is no guilt or shame in any sexuality.

Only by changing a culture that clings to the notion that any sexuality other than straight is a punishable crime will we be able to truly secure equal rights and just treatment for the LGBTQ community. This task can only be accomplished by efforts from people identifying as straight, gay, bisexual and everywhere in between. 

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