Happy Pride Month! In order to properly support anyone LGBTQ+ in your life or simply to learn more about the community, we are here to debunk a few common LGBTQ+ myths and misconceptions people often believe.
MYTH: Bisexuals aren’t real
Contrary to a far too popular myth, bisexual people exist- they are represented by the B in LGBTQ+. People often believe that bisexual men are actually just gay and that bisexual women are actually just straight. Not only is this wrong as being bisexual is a real and valid sexuality, but it also adds a misogynistic assumption that really all sexualities revolve around men when this isn’t the case.
MYTH: Lesbians are ‘masculine’ and gay men are ‘feminine’
Gender expression is such an enormous spectrum. Therefore, certain ‘traits’ are not reserved for anyone, just as with straight people.
MYTH: Someone has to be the ‘man’ and someone has to be the ‘woman’ in same sex relationships
Not only is this incorrect, but it reinforces sexist ideals about what a family should look like and what these roles mean- unfortunately there’s often the implication that whoever is more ‘feminine’ would take on a ‘female’ position.
MYTH: Only LGBTQ+ people can get HIV
This is completely false as anyone can get HIV. HIV is a virus that is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids (namely blood and semen). The virus doesn’t discriminate, and absolutely anybody can contract HIV. Remember that those who are positive for the virus are not dirty and contracting the virus is not a death sentence. HIV is manageable, and thanks to prEP, preventable.
MYTH: Gay men and Lesbians don’t get along
This is a bit of an older stereotype but one that is still harmful firstly because lesbians and gay men have been allies of one another for a long time and secondly because they can have meaningful friendships. The stereotype that we don’t get along is based in ignorant outdated prejudices held by a loud minority.
MYTH: Bisexuals are more promiscuous or more likely to cheat on their partner
The fact bisexuals have the potential to be attracted to a larger percentage of the population doesn’t mean they are. This also does not mean they are less capable of a committed relationship or have more sex on average. Just like everybody else the sexual habits of bisexuals are related to them as individuals, not their sexuality.
MYTH: Trans people decide to be transgender
Being trans is not a choice. Transgender individuals are assigned the wrong gender at birth, this means they are trans from when they are born. Being transgender is as much a choice as where you’re born, what race you are, or the colour of your hair.
MYTH: People who have an identity you aren’t familiar with are only identifying that way for attention
The LGBTQ+ community is incredibly diverse, and many people have specific identities they use which relate to their culture or explain their experience more accurately. It is important to ask questions and be accepting of people and how they choose to identify themselves.
MYTH: There isn’t a need for us to still have LGBTQ+ History Month and Pride
Unfortunately the LGBTQ+ community are still not treated as equals here in the UK and around the world. For example, in over 70 countries and territories it is still illegal to be openly gay. Additionally, in over 10 it is an executable offence. Even in places where we can enjoy more freedoms and legal protection we have a responsibility to remember our history and use our privilege to defend the rights of those who have too few.
These are just a handful of the common myths and misconceptions people have about the LGBTQ+ community. As feminists, it’s important to understand these misconceptions so we can confidently correct them and be strong allies of the LGBTQ+ community.