We talked to LGBT+ individuals about their experiences of homophobia

One person was told ‘a good dick will fix you’

It’s 2017. Disney Channel show ‘The Lodge’ has just featured an openly gay main character. Germany just legalised same-sex marriage. Skittles have foregone their rainbow to respect LGBT+ Pride. The state of affairs for LGBT+ people has improved drastically over the past decade and this trend appears to be continuing.

Many of this years’ Pride marches may be over but it’s important we recognise that LGBT people’s contributions, experiences and rights continue being important all year round. Homophobia remains a problem for many today, so to find out how they’ve been affected, we talked to several young people about their experiences as LGBT+ individuals in 2017.

Tim, 20, gay, student

At school there was a rumour circulating that I was pretending to be gay so girls would like me. It makes no sense when you think about it but people are dumb when they gossip.

Christopher, 18, pansexual non-binary, school leaver

I think a lot of the time it’s stuff like, “you only dress masculine so that people will be more interested in you when you dress feminine.” It’s always about my appearance and how that affects people’s feelings about my identity, rather than how I experience and feel things. Men in bars and clubs always tell me that I don’t look like a ‘dyke’ or that I don’t look trans and somehow that devalues my identity.

A lot of the worst interactions are always to do with people not believing my identity and wanting to ‘turn me straight’ – like that’s an option. They believe that being creepy and overstepping personal space boundaries will make me sexually attracted to them, when instead it’s terrifying because I don’t know what ‘turning me straight’ entails. I’ve had a man offer me money for sex in a club because he was so convinced he could turn me straight.

Ali, 20, queer gender-fluid, student

The worst thing was probably a really close relative saying “I just wish you weren’t like this, you’re making your life so much harder.”

Amy, 21, bisexual, student

When I was at school, people refused to change in the same room as me. I got spat on, shouted at for holding my ex-girlfriend’s hand in the street, told I “just haven’t found the right man”, and the classic “you’re going to hell”. Those are just a few things.

Jack, 23, bisexual, game developper

I’ve never had anything awful said to me, just a lot of indirect bi-erasure. Stuff like “if you have a girlfriend you must be straight.”

Chandler, 22, gay, graduate

I think one of my worst experiences was back in high school when I was 14, and it actually wasn’t something said directly to me. I had a crush on this guy who was straight and people ended up teasing him about it to the point where he cried about it and transferred schools. The fact that my affection was perceived as something demeaning is something I had embedded in my mind from that point onward.

Plenty of straight men have made judgmental comments behind my back about me being gay in a similar vein. I’ve never really been able to get close with straight men because of all the mistrust that’s been created by these experiences. My friends are almost entirely women or other LGBT people. I still have a big insecurity about socialising with men because I’ve been pummelled down with the idea that I’m incapable of interacting with them properly. Essentially a lot of my problems stem from the fragile masculinity of men.

Alex, 19, bi-trans man, student

My worst transphobic experience has been online. A fan page I followed posted a meme about “two genders” and I comment saying it was really transphobic and could they not! Over the next couple of hours I received over 10 abusive comments- the worst being “Go kill yourself Alex, trans like that”. I ended up deleting the comment and unfollow the page. This came at a time when I was suffering from depression quite badly, so you can imagine how bad it felt having someone say that to you.

Taylor, 21, bisexual, counter assistant

Worst thing ever said to me was “a good dick will fix you.” It was by a proper sweaty nerd as well. I can’t believe someone actually thought I could be straight.