Understanding the Misunderstood

Mac Huisken

Youth and adults identifying as LGBTQ+ is on an uprise. With that rise, it becomes harder to ignore those being oppressed for so long. According to the Williams Institute survey analysis in 2011 roughly 3.5%, 9 million Americans, identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. Roughly 1 in every 30 people are a member of the LGBTQ+ community. This rise in the community has led today’s youth to grow up to be more accepting of the idea that people are just people. Members of this younger generation are exploring more self identification and also acknowledging more issues that have previously been swept under that rug. The youth has grown up stronger and smarter when it comes to peacefully resolving the issues.

Intolerance towards the LGBTQ+ community would greatly decrease if people understood those who are not the same as them. Knowing the people in the community brings others closer and creates bonds between differences. It’s important to understand things like how Heterosexuality is being attracted to the opposite sex as one’s self. Cisgender individuals identify with the sex/gender assigned at birth. People who are both Cisgender and Heterosexual are not members of the LGBTQ+ community but can be allies in the fight for acceptance. The ‘+’ represents those who identify as orientations not listed in the acronym. The most well known of the sorts are L,G,B, and the lesser known are those who are pansexual, asexual and so on. These specific letters represent sexual orientations. For example those who identify as pansexual are attracted to any individual regardless of gender identity. Another sexuality under the “+” is asexual. When it comes to sexual attraction, there are asexual individuals who don’t ever feel sexual attraction to anyone. Asexuals feel romantic attraction but there is a limit to intimacy, like sex, for them that they do not wish to cross.

There is a common belief that there are only two genders, but that is incorrect. There are three biological sexes, Male, Female and Intersex. An Intersex person is someone born with reproductive parts from both sexes. Officially stated by US National Library of Medicine, in 2002, “…the true prevalence of intersex is seen to be about 0.018%…” Making 28,760 individuals born intersex in that time. The population has risen over 100 Million since then, which would increase the number intersex people.

Self-identification in and out of the gender binary is a personal thing. The sex of an individual has nothing to do with gender identification, and is another reason that the trans community is so misunderstood and severely underrepresented. Gender identity can be described as a “spectrum”. Think of the spectrum like a line, one end is entirely female, the other entirely male. A person’s identity can fall on any point of that line or not at all. For example, genderfluid individuals don’t fully identify as male, female or neither. These people may go by pronouns of he, she and they. Those who are non-binary usually don’t identify as male or female but rather as neither, using they and them pronouns. These people are also members of the trans community.  A common misconception about being transgender is that it’s about wanting to be the gender you weren’t born as. Being transgender is a different experience for many people and transitioning isn’t something that is thought of on a whim. It usually starts out with discomfort about the way your body looks compared to how you feel it should. This is called body dysphoria, it’s is common and can be very hard for those dealing with it.

Being a member of the community myself it is known that most, if not all members of the LGBTQ+ community have a moment in life when they “come out of the closet”. This means that they are willing to let people know of their identification(s). Those willing to be out to family and friends are often seen as “strong” or “brave” for being out and who they are but this is a backhanded compliment. Reality is, they are just telling people who they are just like anyone else would. Heterosexual and Cisgender individuals do not have to do that with friends and family because it is what is set at birth. The culture associated with coming out of the closet is potentially harmful and mentally scarring to those that have to do it because older generations are not as accepting.

 Today’s youth may be more open but there are some that refuse change and are not okay with LGBTQ+ individuals. According to hrc.org, in the past three years alone, there have been well over 100 documented deaths that have been a result of homophobic hate crimes in America alone. Misunderstandings from others towards the community and even vice versa is nothing new, but lately it’s getting progressively worse. In the years of 2017 and 2018, 51 transgender individuals lives were taken for their gender identity. One of the biggest tragedies the LGBTQ+ community has faced recently was the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016. Saturday June 12, a security guard that worked in the club brutally shot and killed 49 people as well as injured 53. It is necessary that everyone stops what they are doing and evaluates the circumstance of hurting another person.

In previous times, Queer was a term people used to degrade members of society for who they were. As times have changed, the word is now used as an umbrella term for those in LGBTQ+ community.

It is not unknown that being nice to a person for who they are should not be a struggle for people. Respecting someone’s pronouns or preferred name should not be a challenge but rather common courtesy. As times change and individual identification changes, people should come to these people with open minds and open hearts. Love is love no matter how people identify.


If you are ever confused or even considering suicide, please contact the Trevor Hotlines:


A crisis intervention and suicide prevention phone service available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386


Text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available Monday through Friday between 3pm–10pm EST / Noon–7pm PT

Trevor Support Center:

Where LGBTQ youth and allies can find answers to FAQs and explore resources related to sexual orientation, gender identity and more.