In the 1980s, coming out was a transformative act, it was still a casually homophobic society. By the 1990s, it was much different. Television never leads in culture, actors and studios follow the money, so shows with presumably gay characters like "The Facts of Life" led to openly gay like "The Real World", "Will & Grace", "ER", and "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" in the 1990s.
By the 2010s it would seem that coming out wasn't even necessary, seven percent of Americans identify as something in the alphabet, so end of story, right? No heterosexual teen feels angst about announcing they are straight so it should be the same for gay.
Not so. More recently, according to the paper, people have faced backlash due to complaints about
acceptance and equality turning into desire to control all aspects of culture - a lap dance by a trans person on a child got turned into a proxy for worries that everyone would do it, though there are just as many heterosexual strippers who have done it and still would. Prior to that, some school districts with right-wing majorities began to ban books with sexual diversity the way left-wing majority districts had banned books like "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "Of Mice and Men."
Even liberal enclaves like Vancouver have seen a spike in anti-trans behavior, the paper notes.
Interestingly, it reveals that the LGBTQ2+ community is actually just as likely to be intolerant as everyone else. Stereotypes and derision are common. “I hate all these straight couples at Pride” is really no different than what urban people say about outsiders moving into their neighborhoods - "gentrification" - or white people said upon seeing different nationalities buying suburban homes near them in the 1960s. In the paper, a bisexual woman felt like she was shamed by the community because she happened to be dating a man.
Is that progress? Actually, weirdly, yeah. Unless everyone can be a jerk, there is no equality. In the past, those in the 7% may have felt like they had a responsibility to behave certain ways, now they can be just as intolerant as anyone else and no one in their tribe will tell them to dial it back.
Even writing this article, and applauding the progress that has been made, I will take criticism as a cis white male - because I don't devote the entire article to complaining about what isn't perfect. That comes with the job, there have always been cultural militants who try to create an 'icy chill' effect and shut people up who don't write or say what they'd have written or said.(1)
A lot of progress has been made, but we should not make the perfect the enemy of the good. In 1895, sociologist Emile Durkheim codified what would become 'defining deviancy down' - a town full of pickpockets has a much different standard for what gets jail time than a town of priests - and the reverse, 'defining acceptance up' will still occur naturally in neighborhoods that ironically claim to be about diversity. If a majority can tell you that you are not gay enough to support Pride movements it is probably because you live in Davie Village, not because the whole world suddenly thinks being bisexual only means dating someone the same sex.
This will all even out over time, until then straight people will have to endure dirty looks when they buy apartments near the Rainbow Crosswalk. It just won't take thousands of years for heterosexuals to gain such acceptance.
(1) Here is a shortcut to doing it; send this to one of the cranks in the faculty at the NYU School of Journalism and they'll jump on it like they do for all of their allies in the organic food industry when that gets insulted.
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