Being LGBTQ+ simply means one thing: you as an individual are divergent in some way sexuality-wise or gender-wise. It means you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, aromantic…. A plethora of things that you can choose to define yourself. But issues arise when people within the community believe that you must also possess certain religious values, personality traits, and political views.
Recently, the New York LGBT Center canceled an event that would give voices to right-wing LGBT individuals after the public put together many petitions, as well as made the center aware of the beliefs and values many of these individuals held. One such Youtuber targetted was Blaire White, a transgender conservative female who is very open about her political values such as her support for Donald Trump. In following YouTube videos, she claimed that she was shut out because of her openness about not believing in nonbinary identities, guidelines in order to ‘really be transgender,‘ and much more. She is one of the first transgender celebrity figures to openly identify with such values, and by being open about them, she has raised questions about what it means to be in the LGBTQ+ community… and if a group of people who claims to accept all has begun to gatekeep those within our peers who are gender divergent and have minority sexual orientations. In this situation, who isn’t welcome?
Gatekeeping is the process as to which a select group or individual is not allowed within a community, where the said community believes they are not similar enough to that inside. This leads to individuals who desperately need a community to turn to, where they desire to find people in common with themselves, are turned away. Much focus is put on debates within the community such as whether or not aromantic and asexual people belong with the community inherently, or if transgender people are ‘really the opposite gender.’ Because of the number of labels that have built up within the LGBTQ+ community, more and more questions have formed that we don’t truly have the answers to. One of these answers is this: can we really unite so many individuals and claim they’re one community when we struggle to see eye to eye about what political views we must hold to ‘really be LGBT?’
In a perfect world, the LGBTQ+ community would be a place for solace and safety against a world where we are a minority, a place where we can expect to be accepted and find likeminded people. It would be incredible for every person in this united internal and external struggle would be greeted with kindness, respect, and love. However, LGBTQ+ people are people. Just people. Not higher or lower than any other group, we hold flaws just as everyone else does. We are not all kind, liberal, or void of any religion. The only thing that can be assumed by one saying they’re LGBTQ+ is that they’re simply on the spectrum of queerness in some way shape or form. The gatekeeping of those with political beliefs that aren’t as liberal is a toxic ideology that will lead to many individuals unwelcome in a community that preaches to accept everyone. If we will be a community, we should stand in solidarity for any individual of sexual orientation or gender identity and greet them with kindness… no matter if they’re religious, nonbinary, or republican.
We took on the challenge to make millions of wildly diverse people into one community. Did we bite off more than we could chew?