“The world is so obsessed with defining sexuality for everyone and attaching labels to it. Any time any person openly leaves the sexual norm, their sexuality becomes, more often than not, the absolute defining characteristic of that person. It becomes the first thing people think about and often the first things they mention. Every other part of that person all but disappears” – Dan Pearce
The 29th of March was a significant day for all UK citizens, as it marked the legalisation of gay marriage throughout the whole of United Kingdom. Not only was this a remarkable step forward in the gay right movement, it particularly highlights that homosexuality is still something that makes the news.
Recently Ellen Page the American actress came out, causing a huge media uproar. Which makes me wonder why the newspapers report on subjects like this insinuating that they are shocking?
‘Coming out of the closet’ is a term constantly used to define a homosexual person announcing their sexuality however surely in 2014 and we should look beyond “coming out” and accept people for who they are from the start. If homosexuals have to come out, why don’t heterosexuals have to come out? Why do people have to embark on this huge ordeal in letting everyone know that they are interested in the same sex?
We should accept people for who they are and who they are interested in. We must stop acting like we are in the 50s and begin to see people for the type of person they are, not what sex they are interested in. Seeing past this and defining a person by their characteristics and personality despite what sex they are attracted to enables us to move forward in regards to equality.
“There are pervasive stereotypes about masculinity and femininity that define how we’re all supposed to act, dress, and speak, and they serve no one.”
Homosexuality isn’t a big phenomenon and it shouldn’t be making the headlines.
The media doesn’t help the normalisation of homosexuality because of its constant attempt to make it a huge headline and a shocking event, identifying it as something abnormal despite it being clearly recognised as normality due to the changes in the law. The only way we can progress in equality and civil rights is by acceptance, by accepting homosexuality as normal and allowing people to grow up without worry and stress, yet most importantly without any questions being asked.
Considering the gay rights movement have made so much progress in the last few years, why is ‘coming out’ still the biggest hurdle for them to jump over? ‘Coming out’ suggests there is something to hide and despite gay marriage being legalised people still feel the need to hide their sexuality. If we can make such a huge step forward in changing a law, why do we as a society take such a huge step back when it comes to regarding sexual preference as a relevant part of who someone is? We need to regard sexual orientation as irrelevant on defining someone in order to change the way people are viewed and how people view themselves.
I admire celebrities such as Ellen Page, Tom Daley, Lady Gaga who stand up and promote this equality and show the world that things are changing and being different is normal. Small acts of change by individuals contribute to equality on a mass scale. If we all move forward with emphasising the normality of homosexuality it allows people to live in freedom and be themselves without the pressure of publicizing what sex they are attracted to.
John Barrowman spoke about the issue “My parents have always brought us up to believe that sex and sexuality are something to be proud of, and you don’t have to flaunt it if you don’t want to. People don’t walk around with a banner saying they’re straight, so why should I walk around with one saying I’m gay?”
This expresses how despite the fact laws have changed small changes still need to be made in order to allow people to be who they are without it being significant. If straight people don’t need to come out then neither do gay people therefore consequentially equality between gay and straight people is truly equal.
There is no need to label sexuality, just let people be.