First of all, I hope that everyone is well and safe. It has been a while since the last time I wrote an article for Westminster! One of the main reasons that I decided to become a blog contributor is because it gives me a platform to be that voice and even write about topics that we would not typically discuss on a daily basis – as seen in this previous blogs ‘Make the most out of being an international student abroad’ and ‘Celebrating Christmas in 2020’. In this blog, I want to be the voice for those who currently cannot speak for themselves in the LGBTQ+ community across the globe. As a queer person, I am genuinely grateful to have the opportunity to express my individuality, love who I want, and live my life the way I want to. However, that seems to not be the case for many people out there.
Stereotypes towards the LGBTQ+ community
Growing up gay in Thailand has taught me that just because people are not harassing you verbally or physically, it does not mean that you are not being discriminated. I would usually see queer people being portrayed as the ‘clowns’ on the television, the ‘entertaining ones’ in the workplace, or ‘the colourful ones’ of the family. I cannot deny the fact that Thailand has got lighter restrictions and ‘harsh regulations’ when it comes to this matter, but the thing is nobody wants to be a clown. “Laugh with us, not at us”. I am glad that being queer is perceived as being entertaining and humorous, but I just need to clarify that there are different kinds of people in every country, religion, and of course, ‘gender’. Many LGBTQ individuals are involved in politics, science and many academic fields, not just the fashion or entertainment industries.
Apart from being funny, some people have told me that I will not be able to find true love, have a hard time in life, and not be respected simply because I am a man that is sexually attracted to men. I used to believe all these, to the point where I pretended to be straight in front of people for years. Especially when I was in an all-boys school, I would try to force myself to be more “manly” by changing the way I walked, talked and even the way I thought. Evidently, I could not keep up with the façade. Many years passed by, it made me realise that I am not obligated to fit in or turn into something I am not. At the end of the day, if even I cannot accept myself, who would?
When love is not enough
I was lucky enough that both of my parents have been incredibly supportive about my mentality and sexuality during the past few years; although it did take time to work things out. However, if there are positive reactions, it is only normal that there will be negative ones too. There is a hashtag ‘#LoveWins’ on Instagram, and I personally think it is lovely. But in reality, ‘love’ itself is not enough. We need education and knowledge, which then can explain the mental perception and biological side of ‘LGBTQ+’ and what the term really means. Especially when being queer is labelled as ‘mentally ill’ or a ‘sin’, as it breaks my heart that people utilise religions or beliefs to discriminate against others. The true purpose behind ‘religions’ is to reach your higher self, bring you peace and shape you into a decent individual. “If not, then what is the point?”
Lately, I have seen such massive support towards the LGBTQ+ community across the globe, and it makes my heart glow. But I also need to point out that discriminations also occur amongst queers. In the past, we only had mirrors to compare ourselves with, but now we have the whole world of beauty standards on our phones. For me, it is so typical that the new generation is insecure about their appearance (not only within the LGBTQ+ community) because social media has taught us to take face-value before anything else. In this modern-day, we care about being “pretty” to the point where we forget to be ‘pretty kind’, ‘pretty smart’ or ‘pretty considerate’. Life itself is not an easy game, so I am pretty sure that what we all need right now is love and kindness, not competitions.
You are not lost
As a boy, I never knew why I was not attracted to girls, why I was not enjoying all the “boyish” activities or why I could never fit in. Unfortunately, this occurs a lot with young queers, and some people still feel that way even in ‘adulthood’. Let me confirm that you are definitely not lost. You are learning, experiencing and finding yourselves, so please take all the time that you need. From my personal experience, this journey will be a roller coaster ride. You may face hardships that make you want to just give up and blend in, but remember that you are not on this journey alone. Many people, including myself, are still finding themselves constantly. In fact, I think it is a great thing that we do our best to understand and always be true to ourselves, regardless of what people think. Always be yourself, as long as it is not harming others.
The worst thing is that some people cannot even come out or live the way they want to, simply because it is illegal or again, considered a taboo in their countries. Although the LGBTQ+ community is now being widely accepted globally, we cannot simply ignore that some people are still being stoned, killed, jailed or beaten JUST for being who they are. Sign that petition, share that post, march that walk (after the pandemic, of course) and raise awareness. This is going to be the part where I kindly ask you to sympathise and be our allies. Every little helps truly count, and I can’t sit at home idly, knowing that people are being violently marginalised. I mean, is it really acceptable to treat people unkindly for just being themselves? Not for me.
The topics above are literally just about 10% of what I had in mind, and I will definitely touch on other points across my platforms. Since this is such a topic that is close to my heart, I have Westminster Business School, Judy and Joseph, to thank for giving me a platform to raise my voice. Last but not least, I hope that you guys find this article useful and please feel free to comment or send me any topics that you think would be great to include regarding LGBTQ+! Stay safe, and see you in the next blog!
Latest posts by Pitchayut Siriapaipan (see all)
- Alumni Voices | One Last Hoorah - September 30, 2021
- LGBTQ+ at Westminster | Why blend in when you were born to stand out - March 16, 2021
- Students Minds | Make the Most Out of Being an International Student Abroad - December 1, 2020