Celebrating LGBTQI+ and all the colors of the rainbow
Celebrating LGBTQI+ and all the colors of the rainbow
Posted on March 6th 2020 by Hollie Pita-Carr
The world has been partying at Mardi Gras and Carnival recently, showing us that diversity isn’t just about acceptance, but actively celebrating all the colors in the rainbow.
However, it isn’t always easy and sadly discrimination still exists and can even prove deadly. Netflix’s latest true-crime documentary The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez revealed the horrific torture and abuse that tragically killed an 8-year-old, by his mother and her boyfriend. Another similar case came to light with Anthony Avalos, who was killed at 10 years old after coming out as gay, having suffered abuse by his mother and her boyfriend.
Thankfully there are also positive stories of young advocates who are successfully correcting laws, attitudes, and behaviors through sharing their honest open experiences, which we shall review in more detail.
This article celebrates all the colors of the rainbow represented in the LGBTQI+ community and how increasing awareness, understanding and providing useful frames of reference for identity can make a big difference to many people’s lives all around the world.
What does LGBTQI stand for?
LGBTQI is the initialism for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (or: queer), intersex.
The difficulty of definitions and identifying an identity
As humans we are all different and cannot be pigeon-holed into neat little boxes - so too are definitions of identity.
LGBT was an initialism that started being used in the 1990s, to replace the term ‘gay’, which the community did not feel accurately reflected everyone it represented.
Now used as an umbrella term for gender diversity and sexuality, LGBT has become a well known and accepted term, but what about LGBTTQQIAAP?
LGBTTQQIAAP is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual. However, even this longer reference has been criticized as not being inclusive enough and leaving some preferred identities out. The use of a + has also been used to represent all others who may not identify with the letters used in the initialism.
This New York Times article outlines The ABCs of L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+. For this article, we are going to use the widely accepted and referenced term LGBTQI+.
The importance of being able to relate and identify with others
As we are all as unique as our fingerprints, it seems appropriate that we cannot label every single person’s preference and sense of identity. However, seeing that there are others you can relate to, people who understand or may have experienced shared similarities can be extremely important.
People speaking out about their own experiences and being supported and celebrated, like Phillip Schofield’s recent announcement, show that it’s OK to be open about who you are.
Role models can come in all shapes and sizes and the more diversity we showcase, the more reference people will have to be able to identify with.
Georgie Stone is an Australian actress and transgender rights advocate who has recently been honored with a Medal of the Order of Australia, which merits achievement in service to humanity. Georgie has won Human Rights Awards and Young Australian of the Year in Victoria. She was also the youngest ever recipient of GLBTI Person of the Year from the GLOBE Community Awards, and the Making a Difference award from the Anti-Defamation Commission in 2016.
Georgie’s public openness about her transgender identity has provided much insight and increased awareness. Georgie reportedly vocalized her gender identity from two years old, which was affirmed at age 8. At the age of ten, she was the youngest person to receive hormone blockers in Australia, setting a precedent that eventually changed the law.
In addition to bravely sharing her story and experience to help change laws and transgender rights, her role on the popular soap Neighbours tackled transgender issues head-on. Issues of gender identity at school, awareness of correct protocol and strong messages of inclusion and anti-bullying provided a much-needed platform to educate and raise awareness of these issues in the mainstream.
Importantly, it showed that everyone should not just be accepted as they are but celebrated, which is so important for those who may otherwise feel isolated and confused.
Being accepted can feel like a matter of life or death
As globally-renowned therapist, Marisa Peer teaches we are all born with two primary instincts - a need to belong and a fear of being rejected. This is a survival instinct hard-wired into us from when we lived in tribes and our need to belong and be accepted could have been the difference between life and death.
Anyone banished or socially excluded could be vulnerable without the protection and security of the group. Even now, we are born with a need for others to love, protect and value us, babies need others to keep them alive. It really is a matter of life and death.
That is why social exclusion can be such a punishment and why discrimination and bullying can have such a devastating impact. We all saw the impact of Quaden Bayles’ heartbreaking video that went viral showing the consequences of bullying. Thankfully the public outpouring of love and support shows that whilst bullying and discrimination do sadly still exist, there are also a lot of good people in the world who care and together we can make a difference.
“You are enough - always have been always will be” - Marisa Peer.
This is why the work of Marisa Peer’s I AM ENOUGH movement is so important. When you know with unshakable certainty that you are enough, you don’t need anyone’s validation or approval to be who you are. We no longer live in tribes relying on the approval of others to survive. Marisa teaches us that you are the most important person in your life and you can give yourself the praise and acceptance you need.
Marisa says: “When you truly understand that you are enough, you can live a life full of meaning and purpose, free of the feelings of inadequacy that so many people struggle with. I want people to not just ‘know’ that they are enough at an intellectual level, I want them to feel it, live it and embody it.”
That is why Marisa created the I Am Enough course and book to help people redesign their lives based on what is most important to them.
This free self-esteem mini-course is for anyone looking to escape the fear of judgment that may have been residing inside you for years, and replace it with a STRONG sense of self-esteem.
Marisa is kindly currently offering this as a free gift, so sign up now to claim your free self-esteem mini-course...
In conclusion, when you know you are enough just as you are, you can feel empowered to not just accept but celebrate you for who you are. Whatever identity you relate to - kindness, compassion, and acceptance need to be values we all embrace and celebrate. As Caroline Flack highlighted “in a world where we can be anything… be kind.”