June is Pride Month! Pride is a time for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people and allies to come together and honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan and to celebrate LGBTQ history, recognizing the impact that the LGBTQ community has had locally and nationally.
In honor of Pride Month, Fact Not Fiction is answering frequently asked questions about the LGBTQ community, so that we can dispel false info and provide more accurate information! We’ll also be sharing a wide array of resources, not only for people in the LGBTQ community but also for people outside of the community who want to learn more but are afraid to ask.
FAQs about Pride Month & the LGBTQ Community
What is sexual orientation?
Sexual orientation refers to an inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people. [Source: Human Rights Campaign]
What is the difference between gender and sex?
Typically, people use “sex” to refer to a person’s assigned sex at birth based upon physical anatomy. “Gender” is typically used to refer to roles, appearance, interests, and one’s psychological sense of themselves as a gendered being. “Gender identity” is one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth. “Gender expression” is the external appearance of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine. [Source: Human Rights Campaign]
What is the gender-binary and what does non-binary mean?
The gender binary is a social classification system that divides gender identity and gender expression into two separate categories (i.e., male/masculine and female/feminine) with defined limits of what is appropriate for each in terms of appearance, behavior, interests, attire, roles, and responsibilities. Non-binary is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine—identities that are outside the gender binary.
How do I know what pronoun to use if I’m not sure?
The best way to figure out someone’s pronoun is to respectfully ask, and not just guess. You could say, “I want to be respectful. What gender pronoun do you use?” It is very important to respect each person’s self-identification. Individuals may use female pronouns, male pronouns, gender-neutral pronouns such as them or they.. Always remember to never use the word “it” when referring to someone.
[Source: The UNC LGBTQ Center]
What kinds of support do LGBTQ young people need?
According to a survey conducted by the LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi, LGBTQ Mississippians report serious mental health problems about six times more often than the general population. 65% of transgender respondents reported feeling depressed “most of the time” or “often” in the past 12 months, compared to 36% of cisgender respondents who reported the same. That’s why it’s so vital to develop and support evidence-based transgender-specific healthcare education, advocacy, and training programs, as well as improve care coordination between physical and mental health services.
Many LGBTQ youth, especially transgender youth and people of color, had also faced violence, harassment, and survival hardships. 47% of respondents to the LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi survey had been sexually abused or assaulted, while 40% had experienced familial or domestic violence. 20% of respondents also had experienced housing instability, and 16% had experienced homelessness. Without a place to live, it can be harder for LGBTQ people to get jobs, register to vote, and better their lives in general.
How did Pride begin?
Pride Month occurs in the United States to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. The Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising, began in the early hours of June 28, 1969 when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. That night, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn bar in New York City, led by trans women and femmes of color, fought back against the discriminatory police raid. Check out this article from Bustle about the origins of Pride for more information on Stonewall and the history of Pride Month.
How have LGBTQ people been discriminated against?
LGBTQ people have been discriminated against in a multitude of ways, such as: health care and insurance, housing, the workplace, marriage, and so on. For example, Mississippi House Bill 1523 gives broad permission to deny services to LGBT people. It specifically enumerates three religious beliefs—that marriage is “the union of one man and one woman,” that sex should be “reserved” to heterosexual marriage, and that gender cannot be changed—and gives broad permission to deny service to LGBT people based on those beliefs.
Resources for the LGBTQ Youth and Supporters
- Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network
- Genders and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) Network
- The It Gets Better Project
- The Trevor Project: Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention
- Advocates for Youth
- LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi
At Fact Not Fiction, we want everyone to have the right information, regardless of your age, gender, sexuality, or whether or not you’re sexually active. Whatever you do, with whomever, don’t do it in the dark. And ALWAYS make sure it’s done with consent.