The term ‘LGBT community’ didn’t come into popular circulation until the 1990s. Up until that point, everybody who fell under that umbrella would be referred to as a ‘part of the gay community’. It was, rightly, changed to be more inclusive.
However, transgender people have always been the ‘black sheep’ of the community and this is something that desperately needs to change.
That staggering figure is indeed a cause for alarm, and should be a rallying call for everybody, other members of the LGB community included, to support their transgender peers.
The correlation between acceptance and improved mental health are undeniable. Transgender teenagers who are accepted by their parents are 76% less likely to attempt suicide than teens who aren’t. Another study claims that transgender teenagers who face rejection from their parents are thirteen times more likely to attempt suicide.
It’s clear that more needs to be done.
But sometimes, the gay and lesbian communities are readily turning their backs on the transgender community. Often it’s expressed that transgender people are ‘hurting the movement’.
Such criticisms are cowardly. Whether or not gay men and women like it, the transgender community has the same struggles we do. They’re striving for legal recognition, legal protection and the safety to live their lives without persecution.
No matter what, there’ll always be somebody who insists a trans woman is ‘a gay guy’. The homophobic slur that follows gay men like a swarm of locust haunts them too. Our struggles are intertwined.
Once we realize that, we can finally work towards a truly unified community.