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8 Assumptions You Shouldn't Make in LGBTQ Friendships




            Friendships within the LGBTQ community are vital for support and camaraderie. Whether you are part of the community or an Ally, we need connections with other and someone to share our personal and shared histories with. However, certain assumptions can be harmful. Here are eight assumptions I try to never make, when in my LGBTQ friendships.


1. Assuming Everyone Has the Same Experiences

Everyone's journey and experiences are unique. I never assume that my friends' experiences mirror my own and always approach their stories with an open mind. Having lived in 6 states and traveled in 43, each location I have been is definitely a different feel or vibe. There are times when I was quite open, and times I was very hidden in my truth and I don't expect everyone has had the same experiences that I have.


2. Assuming Gender and Sexuality Are Binary

I reject the notion that gender and sexuality are strictly binary. Embracing the full spectrum of identities fosters a more inclusive and understanding friendship environment. Whether asking about a new friend's partner, or in general conversation, I try to respect my friend's both new and old sexuality and gender, knowing what we have learned about that broad spectrum and what it means to each individual.


3. Assuming Visibility Equals Comfort

Just because someone is openly LGBTQ doesn't mean they are comfortable discussing all aspects of their identity. I respect my friends' comfort levels and boundaries in all conversations. When I meet friends out whether they are with other people or alone, I don't immediately go into all gay conversations all the time. Just because they are out and comfortable with our friendship, doesn't mean they have chosen that same level with others.


4. Assuming All LGBTQ People Are Alike

Diversity within the LGBTQ community is vast. I avoid stereotyping or assuming that all LGBTQ people share the same interests, values, or beliefs. Remember topics that are often controversial in general and are not excluded in our lgbq community. Religion, Politics, Sexual Drive are different in all of us.


5. Assuming Relationships Are Traditional

LGBTQ relationships often challenge traditional norms. I never assume that my friends' relationships fit conventional molds and respect their unique dynamics. Again, we have been fighting for autonomy and freedom of expression for a very long time and we don't want to go backwards by assuming what others relationships are to them and how we should be defining them.


6. Assuming Pronouns Are Obvious

I never assume someone's pronouns based on their appearance or name. Asking for and using the correct pronouns is crucial in showing respect and acknowledgment. I still struggle with using the correct pronouns, although I try to work on it all the time. I think we should all give each other a break and apologize if we use the incorrect pronoun and try to do better in the future. Never be afraid to ask.


7. Assuming Coming Out Is Easy

Coming out is a deeply personal and often challenging process. I never assume it is easy or straightforward and offer support without pressure or judgment. I remember my journey and I came out later in life partly because of my generation and partly out of fear. Each person's journey is their own and there is never a "right" or "wrong" way or time to come out.


8. Assuming Discrimination Is Over

Despite progress, discrimination against LGBTQ individuals persists. I remain aware of ongoing challenges and advocate for equality and acceptance. Whether in a friend's family, place of employment, or even social friends, we never can truly know how others journey is being judged by others. There are fears and prejudices, we may know nothing about that are holding our friends back. Just be there for support, and let them share with you what they can, when they can.


Conclusion

Avoiding harmful assumptions in LGBTQ friendships is essential for building trust and understanding. By recognizing and respecting each person's unique experiences and identities, I contribute to a supportive and inclusive friendship network.

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