Queer Erasure And Heteronormativity

Queer Erasure And Heteronormativity

"Let love in."
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What is heteronormativity? Heteronormativity is, according to Wikipedia, "the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life. It assumes that heterosexuality is the... norm." In layman's terms, it's the assumption that everyone is straight and cisgendered (the gender they were assigned at birth), and that you can only be one or the other, straight or gay. One might assume that the queer (LGBTQ+) community wouldn't have issues such as this, but we truly do, although it's somewhat different than the way it is in the rest of the world.

Within the queer community, it is erasure. I identify as bisexual, and I've had people tell me to my face that those who identify as bisexual are just doing it for attention. People assume that bisexual people are just "curious" or "experimenting," and this isn't only people who identify as straight. I've had gay people tell me that identifying as bisexual is just a phase, that you can only be straight or gay. The term for this is "bisexual erasure," but also applies to identities such as pansexual. It's incredibly frustrating to be told that your identity isn't true, that you're a "curious heterosexual."

I've also noticed that my asexual or aromantic friends have similar issues with erasure. It's assumed that people who identify as such (asexual meaning not interested in sex, and aromantic meaning not interested in a relationship) aren't valid. They are told that they "haven't met the right person," and it's heavily implied that they'll end up in a heterosexual relationship. This sort of rhetoric implies that relationships with heterosexual sex and marriage are the only good thing in the world. It's harmful, and it isn't something heard only from non-LGBTQ people. It's heard from queer communities, telling ace-spectrum people that their feelings aren't valid. Invalidating feelings are never okay.

It's truly frustrating to deal with heteronormativity from anyone, yet it is a different kind of hurt when dealing with it from people who are a part of the community that you identify with. It hurts in a different way. It's one thing to not be accepted by people you knew might not accept you, and a complete other thing to not be accepted by people in a community you consider yourself to be a part of. So please, if you're reading this, no matter who you are-- Accept love in your life. Accept the people in your life. Accept that you can't stop them from loving who they love, and that it isn't your place to. Let love in to your life, and stop trying to stop people from loving.

Cover Image Credit: Font Folly

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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How Growing Up In A Culturally Diverse Environment Changed Me

We are all human.

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I can proudly say that I am from Montgomery County, Maryland, more specifically from the city of Gaithersburg. According to a 2018 study by WalletHub, three of the top 10 culturally diverse cities in the United States are located in Montgomery County. Those cities include Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Silver Spring.

I have lived in Montgomery County ever since the day I was born. Growing up in such a culturally and economically diverse area has educated me with the value of accepting differences. Since I was exposed to an assortment of cultures at such a young age, I hardly ever noticed differences among my peers and I. The everyday exposure to various cultures taught me to embrace diversity and look beyond appearances such as the color of someone's skin. I was able to open my eyes to other ideas, lifestyles, and backgrounds.

Ever since I was a child, I was not only taught to welcome different cultures and ethnic groups, but I was always surrounded by them. From my elementary to high school years, every classroom was filled with racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity. Coming from someone apart of the Caucasian race, I was often the minority in school. Not everyone is as fortunate to experience such a multicultural society.

Since being from Montgomery County, I have grown up as a person with an open mind and strong values. Diversity has not only taught me to be more mindful but has also helped me become more of a respectful person. Learning about other cultures and backgrounds is essential to help societies strive, but experiencing it firsthand is something that no one can teach you.

After being in countless culturally diverse situations, I have been provided with many lifelong advantages. I was taught to be inclusive, fair, and understanding. I am able to be comfortable and accepting of all cultures and religions. After growing up in such a culturally diverse environment, I now develop culture shock when I'm not surrounded by diversity.

Our world is filled with numerous different kinds of cultures, ethnic groups, and religions. Being raised in a diverse environment has prepared me for what the real world looks like and taught me exactly what equality means. As I was growing up, I was always taught to be nonjudgemental of others and to embrace all individuals for who they are.

Diversity molds our identities. Every individual is unique, but each of us shares at least one trait — we are all human. Who would rather experience a homogeneous society, when they could constantly be learning about other cultures and building diverse relationships? When growing up, I never realized how impacted and truly thankful I would be to of had the opportunities to experience diversity each day. So here is a long overdue thank you to my parents for choosing to raise me in such an incredibly diverse place all of my life.

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