The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has been a topic of widespread mixture of acclaim and critique on the onset of the 21st century, and having received worldwide attention has enabled the community to have a lot of their issues addressed such as acceptance in social environments such as workplaces, schools, etc. But have these issues been addressed in their favor? The answer to this would vary worldwide.

According to a recent poll conducted in December 2019 by the ILGA, there are still 70 countries in the world that criminalize same-sex sexual relationships between adults. And even if this weren’t a criminal offense in the other countries, there is no guarantee that they would not be looked down upon in public and discriminated against, which is very ironic considering the universal campaign for equal rights for everyone irrespective of who they might be. The fact that even the Universal Declaration for Human Rights that has been drafted in 1948 has not specifically included sexual orientation between people has allowed people to debate about LGBT rights. This is a major setback for LGBT communities campaigning for universal acceptance.

But this has not dampened the hopes of people campaigning for equal rights as they have come up to openly state and take a stand on their sexual orientation and to gather support for the universal acceptance of LGBT communities. It is generally very tough for any person to ‘come out,’ i.e., accept the fact that they might be gay, and in order to come to terms with this they might take years and it could actually be encouraged by being accepted by their families and friends.

The fact that in a lot of cases parents are unwilling to accept that their children are gay causes them to take draconian measures so as to make them “fit” into the society by physically, mentally, and emotionally abusing them by sending them to gay correction camps where they are subjected to torture methods such as making them watch “straight” porn, being beaten up day in and out and abused verbally, their genitals played with and ridiculed, starved up till they accept to revert to being “straight” for the rest of their lives and so on. As horrendous as these methods might sound, this is nothing but the grim truth of what continues to occur in a lot of parts of the world even though laws have been passed legalizing things like same-sex marriage and same-sex sexual acts.

The fact that children at a relatively early age are subjected to such acts leaves a permanent and deep psychological scar that just deepens and doesn’t heal over time, contrary to ideally held beliefs. In schools and colleges, kids generally try to suppress their sexual orientations for fear of being socially ostracized and ridiculed for the rest of their lives, which doesn’t actually help them in any way but just make them regress in a behavioral aspect, such as resorting to being lonely and picking up smoking and taking drugs on account of being “guilty” for something they had no control of that ultimately causes health problems and adds up to a whole lot of colossal problems they already have to encounter. The fact they get bullied and constantly picked upon becomes an inevitable part of their lives, as a result of which they begin isolating their true emotions so as to not feel it, which again takes a toll on the emotional aspect of their lives as they are unable to truly express themselves in society.

Also, in workplaces adult gay people generally find it harder to be successful at their jobs due to the absurd fact of their sexual orientations being unique from the rest. And even on landing a job, they are constantly slighted and discriminated against by their colleagues and superiors that causes the person to develop a so-called “inferior complex” of oneself and is always in doubt of one’s decisions.

In an increasingly modern world, one must understand that though a gay might have different sexual orientations from the rest it doesn’t mean that they are not competitive enough: in a lot of cases, they are on par with heterosexual people and even perform far better than regular people in workplaces. They also tend to be very strong emotionally and mentally because it takes a lot of sheer willpower and determination in order to stay strong through all these obstacles and according to the proverbial saying, “what does not break you, makes you stronger over time” perfectly sums up the attitude of successful LGBT people who have made it big in their life. Such examples include Tim Cook who is the CEO of Apple Inc., Antonio Simões who is the CEO of HSBC Bank, Claudia Brind-Woody who is the vice president of IBM, and Stephen Clarke who is the CEO of WH Smith among many others. But we are still far away from seeing more LGBT people making it big or even trying to compete out of sheer fear.

In order for more people to come out, express their true sexual orientation, and more importantly, make it big in life and in turn become a role model for others, development needs to begin at the grassroots level. This can be done by spreading the word on how being gay is the new normal and educating parents on being a constant support for their kids who have come out so that they can accept who they truly are.

To quote a famous proverb, “With knowledge comes understanding, and with understanding comes peace and the power of compassion”. Also, when gay people are accepted by their peers in schools, colleges, workplaces, and in public generally it empowers them to speak and campaign for their rights. Acceptance and equality are the two main and possibly the only things the LGBT people are asking from the  world. To ask a rhetorical question, is it too much to ask for? Or as conscious citizens of the world, is it too much to stand along with them and campaign for their rights rather than stand back and act like homophobes who really don’t care if the world burns around us? This is the new normal, readers. Either stand with us or forever against us.

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