Part 3: Contemplative reflections on conforming to societal expectations related to gender and sexual identity
In this next group of contemplative reflections*, I am seeking to emphasize the struggles and consequences of conforming to societal expectations related to gender and sexual identity.
For the many LGBTQ+ individuals who feel pressured to adopt "straight-acting" behaviours, these contemplative reflections address the negative impacts of conformity on self-expression and self-acceptance. Speaking from personal experience, I struggled more with hiding my true self and desires in the closet than the need to appear straight-acting while growing up. Nonetheless, I was trying to somehow fit into a world in which I didn’t see any visible representations of myself or who I could be.
The closet hurts, cultivating shame and separation.
These reflections highlight the importance of LGBTQ+ visibility to combat prejudice and violence, while also acknowledging the role of internalized homophobia that can result from a closeted upbringing.
They encourage individuals to challenge societal norms and embrace their authentic selves, recognizing that conformity often perpetuates shame and fear. Ultimately, these contemplations encourage readers to reject the confines of the "straight-acting" label and seek acceptance for their true selves, fostering inclusivity, self-compassion, and a more open and understanding society.
Contemplative reflections on self-expression and LGBTQ+ visibility.
Visible for a Purpose
LGBTQ+ visibility remains crucial.
We face adversity and violence,
Until love and respect replace prejudice.
Breaking Free from Patterns
Closeted behaviour is patterned.
Challenge these learned habits,
And break free from societal constructs.
Prejudice from the Closet
A closeted childhood and adolescence
Leads to prejudice in adulthood.
Fear and internalized homophobia
Manifest in judgment and defensiveness.
Challenge Dominant Norms
Embracing a conscious queerness
Defies the status quo.
It's a radical departure from hegemony
That seeks communion in difference.
Escape the Straight-Acting Box
The need for men to appear straight-acting
Confines men and deflects emotions.
The label and the behaviour
Perpetuate hatred and shame.
A "straight-acting" gay man
Seeks acceptance for his femininity.
Authenticity craves inclusivity
And cultivates self-compassion.
The “straight-acting” label hurts us all.
It reinforces masculine dominance,
And fear of difference.