While reading the news this morning, I stumbled upon the story around Hungarian government’s anti LGBTQ stance. I’m not going to pick up on that because, well, either we’ll agree it’s not a good thing and get cross, or we’ll not agree and still get cross. 🙂
What piqued my interest was the reported comment from Xavier Bettel (Prime Minister of Luxembourg) and is out as a gay man, “I did not become gay because of something I saw on TV.”
In my personal experience of being the T in the LGBTQ+ community – oh, and I do mean trans, and not “twit” or other insults 😉 – as a child, I knew something was up long before I knew what the words were. Of the boys of my own age, rough & tumble was not me and competitive games left me cold. If that’s a T thing or an outsider thing, I don’t know. I do know that back then the firm social rules of Boys Do X and Girls Do Y felt weird to me.
While it’s difficult to look back that far, those cough cough forty plus years ago cough, what I do know is I learned how to hide who I was and I would keep an eye for signs that there might be anyone else like me. I mean, there must be right? 🙂
As i got older, stayed up late, and watched programmes such as Channel Four’s Out on Tuesday or BBC Two documentaries, I saw quite a bit of LGBTQ+ information. I watched it because very occasionally, someone who didn’t quite fit the gender binary would pop up. Caroline Cossey, for example, or drag performers who seemed to be full time and doing okay. For a time as a kid, I wondered if drag might be the way out for me, but there was no place in a rural backwater that that was going to happen.
If the argument that teens are affected by what they watch is true (hint: it isn’t 😛) then given how much LGBTQ information I watched, why am I heterosexual? Sure, I wondered if I had a ‘flexible approach’ 🙂 to clothing choices, might this mean I might grow to like men? In honesty, I’ve never seen a guy I’ve fancied. Yes, some men are handsome, but I’m not attracted to them romantically or otherwise. So, I’m taking that as a no. 🙂
To throw in a happy memory, the 90s TV show Hodson Confidential – an after hours show which discussed sexuality and other matters – ran a programme about, what we called back in the day, TV or TS people. Yes, language and understanding has moved on 😁 That episode wasn’t exploitive (at least so my memory recalls) and hearing the stories from people like me, well, a felt less alone and less weird. It’s fine, make your own jokes here 😉
Given my diet of late night TV, LGBTQ+ programmes, heavy metal, and role-playing games, can we conclude that the moral panics of ‘turning kids gay’ – or in the case of metal and RPGs, into Satanists 🙄 – is, frankly, bollocks?
I started off feeling that something was off in terms of my gender and regardless of what I read it watched, those feelings did not go away. If anything, not finding the information to help me understand made me look harder. The lack of self acceptance may well have played a part in my brush with depression as a late teen.
What, other than moral panics are usually twaddle, can we conclude from all of this? I feel education is key here. It’s absolutely not about teaching kids to stay on the straight and narrow because some of us are already aware that that is not us. What I think we need are positive role models and education that it’s okay to be who we are. Information to help us understand and learn to accept and be okay about who we are. I know that’s trite, but it’s true. Self acceptance is probably the best thing you can give anyone.
If anyone thinks that can control what teens are reading and watching: firstly, did you forget your childhood? 🙂 Secondly, the Internet is in their hands and even without it, people talk to each other. It’s not about controlling what they see, but giving people honest, evidence based information to make informed choices about who they want to be. Trans folk are not going away. If we managed to survive the last century with all the bigotry and violence, what chance do you think you have to stop us now?
Please, don’t be on the wrong side of history: love you kids without any ifs ♥️
PS: if anyone wants me, I’ll be playing my LPs backwards and trying to summon the Destroyer of Worlds. 😉 TTFN, and oh, roll for initiative! 🎲