It seems that not a week goes by that a celebrity or someone with status comes out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Transgender individuals, in particular, seem to be all over the media. So, why is that? Are there more LGBT individuals now than there were in the past?
What I think is happening is as our society becomes more comfortable and accepting of people who don’t fit into conservative boxes, more people come out. Whether that is someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or relationships preference, people no longer feel the need to pretend as much.
Celebrities, being wealthy and surrounded by generally liberal people, are in the best position to come out and provide a safer society for others.They provide an example that it sexuality and gender are not binary, that human sexuality and gender is more complicated than that. I do hope that someday none of this will really matter, that everyone will just be treated as individuals, but we aren’t there yet.
In fact, I think it is important to recognize that we aren’t even close to that point. Yes, it is easier for rich celebrities and, generally white, wealthy people living on the coasts to fully express their gender and sexual orientation, but that isn’t the case for most people. People of color, youth, and individuals who live in conservative areas face very real danger of being discriminated against, assaulted, or even killed because of who they are. Things are getting better, but we have a long way to go.
I expect we will see much more of this, and probably new terminology popping up until the point it is impossible to keep track of what all the identities and orientations mean. And maybe, just maybe, that flood of individuals seeking a word that most accurately describes them will make us realize we should just treat each other as individuals and stop trying to classify each other. We should respect and love each other for being true to ourselves. Instead of people seeing me as Peter (cisgender, heteroerotic, sexually fluid, monogamish) they will simply see me as Peter.