These “Harmless” Words Can Traumatize Black LGBTQ People

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Via Pixabay
Leslie Taylor-Grover
November 18, 2021

Shae wanted her family to meet her fiancé – soon to be her wife! On the other hand, she was worried. Growing up, she heard a lot of messages from them that it was NOT safe to finally tell them her truth.

The following phrases can be truly hurtful to Black LGBTQ people – and the young learn from us whether we’re explicitly teaching them or not. Do these sound familiar?

#1: “They’re too good-looking to be gay/trans/queer/non-binary.” 

This sends the message that LGBTQ people are inherently unattractive, should expect rejection, and being exactly who they are isn’t enough.

#2: Deadnaming.

This means using a trans person’s birth name or gender instead of their chosen name or gender. Transition is a self-affirming, loving act for trans people that usually did NOT come easily. To deadname a trans person is deeply hurtful.

#3: “Little friend / Roommate.” 

Calling someone’s partner their “little friend” or “roommate” discounts their relationship and signals that you don’t believe LGBTQ love is equal to heterosexual love.

Our words can sometimes deeply hurt our loved ones unintentionally. At one time, being secretive about LGBTQ status was a survival strategy – but times have changed. We need to do our best to uplift each other and show love to our LGBTQ family members, and ensure we teach our children to do the same!

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