Thursday, February 23, 2017
Today we were fortunate to have a group of students share their experiences in dealing with LGBT issues. Interviews are one way that sociologists conduct qualitative research and I think this is always a valuable way of learning from the LGBT community. I think there are a few themes that come out of the panel.
First, students explain the way they not only could not choose their sexuality or gender identity but in some cases they worked actively to try to deny it and fight against it. I find it hard to imagine how difficult it must be to mentally try to be something you are not. This is an example of the difference between nature and nurture. It is very hard for them to deny their nature even if they are nurtured against it.
Second, I think that the students show a similar pattern of how difficult their relationships are in their agents of socialization. Students show how difficult it is with their families, schools, religions and even peers/friends. Being gay, bisexual or transgender creates a role conflict with all of these groups that operate under traditional gendered traits.
Finally, the panel shows the individuality of each person. Sex, gender, sexuality and gender identity all exist on a spectrum (as opposed to the narrowly defined boxes that our culture uses). The individuals on the panel exhibit their own unique identity in these categories and they have their own unique coming out process. We should be mindful of that individuality. Don't stereotype them, instead respect each person's self identity. This includes the pronouns that they use, as well as other things like their interests, hobbies, haircut and clothes.
In conclusion, I think it was incredibly courageous for these students to share their experiences. I hope you found it moving and enlightening.
Here are more LGBT stories online.
Here is a link to the Reconciling Churches network within the Methodist Christianity.
Here is a link to the Reconciling Lutheran Christian churches.