The LGBT community has recently experienced long-awaited triumphs toward equality. Although same-sex couples have been around since the beginning of time, more are open about their relationships now than any time in history. Over 6 million Americans have come out on Facebook. In the past year alone, 800,000 Americans have changed their Facebook profiles to reflect same gender attraction.
With the Supreme Court decision in June that overturned bans on same-sex marriage, the community has experienced massive strides; however, many people still hold misconceptions about LGBT couples. Here are eight things that only gay and lesbian couples understand but would like for you to know.
1. They did not choose their sexual orientation.
Just as they did not choose the color of their eyes or skin, they did not choose their sexual orientation. It is innate to who they are. They understand that straight people do not just decide one day to be straight, and they wish people would understand that they do not decide to be gay. They cannot change whom they are attracted to.
2. Coming out is never a one-time event.
Although coming out to family and loved ones is usually the conversation that is most stressful, coming out is never a single, one-time-only event. It is a lifelong process that every LGBT person faces any time they meet new people, move, or change jobs. They must continually determine with whom and in what situations they want to reveal their sexual orientation.
3. They often feel the need to lead a double life.
If they have not yet come out, they may go to great lengths to keep their relationships hidden, such as telling others their partner is just a “roommate”, or worse, having their partner go elsewhere if someone is coming by for a visit. It can put stress on the relationship and takes tremendous effort to have both a public and private persona, but many still feel they have no choice.
4. They are excellent parents to happy, well-adjusted children.
LGBT couples have always known that sexual orientation has nothing to do with their ability to be a good parent. Studies conducted throughout the years confirm that children of gay and lesbian parents fare no differently than children of heterosexual parents. It is the quality of the relationship between parent and child that affects a child’s well-being, not the sexual orientation of the parent. LGBT couples love their kids no differently than their straight counterparts.
5. Being LGBT is not a lifestyle.
Just like every other couple on planet Earth, being LGBT is only one small facet of who they are, not their entire lifestyle. LGBT couples have jobs, pay bills, take out the garbage, go to school, raise kids, feed their pets, go grocery shopping, watch TV, have hobbies, go to church, and take part in the same activities as straight couples. It is these activities that make up their lifestyle, not their sexual orientation.
6. They do not all wave rainbow flags and march in pride parades.
This does not mean they don’t have pride, but many LGBT couples just want to live normal lives without being on spectacle. To most, being able to hold their partner’s hand in public on any given day without being stared at means more than all the pride parades in the world.
7. Mars vs. Venus is not an issue in their relationships.
They get each other, which is a great perk. It is much easier to communicate with someone who is “wired” the same way. Unlike heterosexual couples who have gender differences to navigate, LGBT couples better understand each other’s thoughts, feelings, experiences, and motivations, making communication between them much easier. This is not to say that they don’t argue, just like every relationship there will be rough patches!
8. Their love is like anyone else’s love.
The way they fall in love is no different from straight people. The potent feelings that bring people together are exactly the same. They have strong, long-lasting, happy, monogamous relationships. LGBT relationships can succeed or fail since it is the individuals in a relationship, not the genders, who make or break a relationship.
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