A new photo series explores the shocking discrimination many members of the LGBT community have to face on a day-to-day basis.
Dr Kevin Nadal, 35, a psychology professor at the City University of New York, asked volunteers to pose with signs displaying the homophobic comments they’ve received time and time again.
One woman couldn’t help but grin, as she held up her placard reading: ‘Have you ever had REAL sex?’ While a less enthused lady told how she’s always asked: ‘Who’s the man in the relationship?’
Another female participant recalled how she was once told ‘I have a cousin like you’ when she revealed her sexuality to someone.
Noting the absurdity of the remark, she pointedly responded: ‘How?’
When it came to the men, one told how he often gets mistaken for a woman because of his androgynous looks and shoulder-length hair.
Several others mentioned how straight men often automatically assume that anyone gay will pounce on them.
In a bid to combat the stereotype, one gay man underscored in his message: ‘Just because I like men, doesn’t mean I “like” all men. I ACTUALLY have a type and chances are . . . IT’S NOT YOU!’
Dr Nadal, who is openly gay himself, refers to these encounters as acts of ‘microaggression.’
‘It’s a concept that is heavily discussed in academic circles, social service organizations, and among college students. However, people in general society may not be aware of the term at all.
‘We need to teach more people about microaggressions, in order to educate people about how hurtful microaggressions are and how they negatively affect people’s lives.
‘We need to people to be mindful of their language and the little things they do and say that harm people’s lives.’
Constantly questioned: This young woman says her family are often on her case
In his research on LGBT microaggressions, Dr Nadal found that they had a significant impact on people’s lives.
While some of these experiences may seem brief and harmless, many studies have found that microaggression can trigger symptoms of depression, psychological distress, and even physical health issues.In a first person piece for the American Psychological Association Dr Nadal tells how he was ridiculed at high school ‘almost everyday’ about his sexuality.
‘When I walked by them in the halls, they called me a “faggot” or screamed my name in a flamboyant tone.
Changing times: Entering the English language in the 16th century, queer originally meant strange, odd, peculiar, or eccentric – today it is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual
Still not fully accepting: This man shows that his family haven’t quite come terms with his sexuality
‘I didn’t tell anyone about the bullying (not my parents, teachers, or anyone) because admitting that I was being teased for being gay would mean that I was admitting to being gay. I had never felt so alone in my life.’In college, Dr Nadal’s situation improved but it took him years before he finally came out.‘In retrospect, I had a very difficult time accepting my gay identity, because of the microaggressions that I experienced throughout my life.’
Really? This man reveals something that he often hears his female pals say
Dr. Nadal concludes: ‘Let’s teach our kids to love people, instead of hating them. Let’s do this together’
He hopes his work will help ease the situation for others.
Asked how he thinks the problem of LGBT discrimination can be solved, he replied: ‘Well, first of all, let’s get everyone to stop saying things like “That’s so gay!” or “That’s so queer!”
‘If something is weird, say it’s “weird”! Why do you have to bring LGBTQ people into it? Correct others when they use homophobic/ transphobic language or endorse LGBTQ stereotypes.
‘Let’s teach our kids to love people, instead of hating them. We have the power to transform this next generation of young people to be open-minded and awesome. Let’s do this together.’
Source: Mail Online