Updated: Jun 12
Talking with my friends and clients in the queer community, one of the most painful interactions they report is telling someone they love about their experiences, only to have them say, "Yeah, that's not real. That's not really what you feel. You're just confused."
Sexuality and gender are such deep elements of the human experience that when they hear "That's not real," they essentially hear, "You're not real," and therefore, "You don't matter." I know it's not usually meant that way, but that's how it's experienced.
Invalidating someone's experience is a quick and terrible way to eliminate their value
The same experience is often true for all marginalized people groups: low-income, female, BIPOC, etc. Perhaps even more of the problem is that when a friend or relative says that, they often actually believe it! Because it's not their experience and they've had so few encounters with others who have that experience they can't empathize.
Please don't be that for your friends and family. Please don't harm them in that way. Not if you love them. Do better. Get to know those who are different from you, so you're ready the day your person is ready to share their story with you.
Unsplash: Christophe Maertins