It’s Who You Love.

It’s Who You Love.  

Dear …,

I want you to know that how you feel isn’t crazy.  I know that it seems scary and like you’re doing the wrong thing by loving as you want to. It takes so much courage and strength to love openly and freely…. I promise you can do it no matter how tough it may seem. I know that you’re afraid things will get messy with your family finding things out and that they may not be the most accepting at first but this doesn’t mean you need to live constantly fearing what comes next.  I’ll keep this short, I just want you to know that you are strong and you’re the author of your own life. Be bold, I love you. – MT

I’ve never understood the individuals who are hateful towards people who do not allow society to put a label on their love.  Friendships, families, communities etc. are being torn apart by the societal expectation that an individual needs a label in order to fit in.  These are the individuals that fail to understand, It’s Who You Love.  It’ll never be up to them to decide how you feel.  

This serves as a message to the individuals out there that are living in apprehension, WHO YOU LOVE, IS WHO YOU LOVE. A message to those who think they are  “different”, the ones who can’t form the same intimate connection with one gender, however, instantly click with another, the ones that fall in love with “who they shouldn’t” unexpectedly, and “mistakenly,” desperately wishing it wasn’t the case. This isn’t a topic that you need to dwell upon or let keep you up at night, it is something that you just need to accept, you need to be able to love yourself for who you are and look past the hostility.  It’s your life.

The desire to feel accepted by those who you love often acts as an impediment to truly being yourself.  Individuals are constantly living in fear of how the ones who care most will react to their truth, this isn’t how it should be.  Love shouldn’t have labels.  Love shouldn’t be circumstantial.  

Love isn’t forced, and it isn’t wrong.  These are two concepts that I feel are frequently blown out of proportion by individuals within society who believe that they are better off conforming to what the collective views as “normal.”  Despite our progressive movements within the past few years, traditionalist manners persist throughout our societies across the globe acting as an obstruction to some people’s’ freedom.

  1. You can’t be forced to fall in love.  People often forget this, they believe that just because their parents say this or their friends say that, that their emotions can only be validated through an outside or external force. This isn’t the case and it should never be, you should never attempt to fabricate your emotions in order to fit in with the “norms of society.”  WHO YOU LOVE, IS WHO YOU LOVE, no one should make you question this.  Regardless of whether those acting as “stressors” are your parents, friends, or merely a random passerby with nothing more to offer than a judgemental glance or snarky comment, you should be proud of who you are and who you love,  I can’t stress that enough.  
  2. It might feel scary but it  isn’t wrong to feel the way you do. I feel like this is such a common concept, people try to instantly convince themselves that it’s wrong to feel new emotions because it’s just, “not the way they are,” or it’s, “only this one person.”  Your emotions are not meant to scare you, listen to yourself and yourself only. There isn’t something wrong with you simply because you’re open to loving freely. Love is a beautiful thing once you find it, be open to finding it, don’t deny this from yourself.  

So if you’re an individual who needed this message, if you have been up all night wondering why you feel the way you do, if you feel like you just can’t accept how you feel, if you feel like your love depends on your friends or your family, like it isn’t in your hands…. Look further than the backlash, conquer your fear; don’t let it get to you, love yourself and others freely.  This is your life, only you get to decide what you do with it.

Racism In The Queer Community

LGBTQ+ representation has grown massively in the last ten years. There is no denying that in today’s’ western society we have come far in terms of agenting love that isn’t traditionally heteronormative. As wonderful as this is, the representation tends to focus on able bodied, cisgender white males. There is a stereotype for gay men that is yet to be challenged in mainstream media. Just like in any group of people, there is more than one type of person living within it which isn’t realised, in many cases, by 21st Century inhabitants.

Queer love shown on TV to bring ‘diversity’ to the shows is so likely to be between two impossibly good looking white men with ripped bodies, one of them playing a more  campy, overdone effeminate ‘gay best friend’ character. The other tends to be a hyper masculine guy with intense muscles, showcasing the two extremes of gay stereotypes. If there is a show or film with a gay character in, they are rarely the main character or play a powerful role, like a CEO or any type of leader. If anything they are a b*tchy personal assistant with pursed lips and high cheekbones, drinking lattes in high fashion outfits. If there is a black gay character, he is once again the sassy gay best friend personality, playing to the stereotypes where, like before, he is in a position where he has no significant power or authority.

As a young queer teen myself, I was constantly looking for shows and films that could validate my feelings. At the time, the Netflix ‘LGBT section’ was somewhat limited and I found myself re watching the same films about white boys falling in love. To contradict myself however, films like Moonlight and the channel 4 series of Cucumber, Tofu and Banana have been big steps in achieving suitable representation that shows off real diversity within the LGBTQ+ body. There IS some representation out there for communities of minorities but work should be done to be more inclusive to the many types of people living within the queer world. It isn’t just ethnicity representation that should be recognised either. Disabled, transgender, bisexual, Muslim, intersexual and many more groups are failing to be represented as their respective communities and the queer folk within them.

The terms ‘no femmes, no Asians, no blacks’ is a phrase that comes up a lot. It is most likely to be found on a Grindr account, or any page looking for gay relationships/hook-ups. There is a line between preference and racism, in my opinion ‘no blacks, no Asians’ no favours the latter. Even as a young female, who is not yet able to join such popular sites, I have seen the term been tossed around far too casually. When you actually dissect the phrase what are they saying? They are eliminating entire races and types of people as if they are too good for them. As if they are not worthy of the likely average sex the likely average guy has to offer. To group whole races and assume they are all the same is outdated and seems reserved for conservative thinkers. Queer people can be mistook for liberals, a believable theory however not always so true. In the last US election, presidential elect Donald Trump boasted that he had LGBT supporters, who turned out to unsurprisingly be made up of a majority of white men. Rich, white men. Men that create racist, sexist, islamophobic statements…whilst claiming to be liberals. Milo Yiannopoulos is the perfect candidate for this title. A far-right, British media personality who, whilst being openly gay, furiously supports the republican party, is a strong opponent for the Black Lives Matter movement but claims that he can’t be racist because of  “the intimate relationships he is easily able to strike with African American individuals”  He also sells hoodies reading ‘feminism is cancer’ titling himself a second wave feminist and calling women ‘common prostitutes’.  The way he peddles hatred and offensive material yet is still a supposed ‘representative’ for the gay community is sad. He represents nothing the community stands for, which is, in my eyes, generally and simply equality and love between all people.

The whole truth is that the LGBTQ+ Community is more than just able bodied white folk. It is a beautifully diverse community full of people from all ethnicities, body abilities, backgrounds, heritage, body types and genders. There are There should be more media focusing on other parts of the community, like Muslim, Latino, Trans and disabled people living within the body. In the first world we have come far in showing women in positions on power in adverts and TV. I can only hope we are not far off doing the same for queer people.

Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets, Istanbul Pride March 2017

featured image via getty images

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The largest gay pride march in a predominantly Muslim world since 2003.  Tens of thousands of individuals showing up to embrace and celebrate.  Happiness, and acceptance, a place to be free.  Istanbul’s gay and transgender pride parade has been banned twice before in past years.  This year, however, the ban could not stop activists of the LGBTQ community from taking part

Activists of the LGBTQ community gathered in Istanbul Sunday morning as an act of defiance, resistance but more importantly unification.  Large numbers of individuals showed up to defy this ban and walk together waving their flags, and banners, spreading their positive energy and passion with their colleagues and those watching.

 

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Riot officers moving to detain activists defying the ban on the Pride march.  Photo By: Emrah Gurel

 

Amongst those watching, were a great number of Turkish riot officers who would later deploy tear gas, fire rubber bullets, and arrest dozens of activists.

The riot officers used rubber bullets alongside tear gas to break up the crowd of marchers as they chanted and danced throughout the streets.  Entrances to the parade route were closed off, and police proceeded to arrest dozens of individuals taking part in the march and some individuals reporting for media.

 

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Riot officers blocking a parade entry. Specifically Istiklal Avenue a gathering spot for the activists.  Photo By: Bulent Kilic – Getty Images

These acts against the community were not and should not be tolerated and have sparked movements within many different communities around the world.  Certain organizers of the pride march in Istanbul released this statement in response to the ban, ” We are the ones who declared the revolution of love and gender identity. We are the ones who are excluded, ignored and yet resilient. […] Governors, governments, states change, we stay. These threats, bans, pressures will not stop us! ”

 

( You can find the article in which this statement was released here )

together we are stronger