Gatekeeping in the LGBTQIA+ Community
Gatekeeping is a form of abuse that is commonly used in the community to keep others away from certain activities. This tactic can be very dangerous to people who are just coming out or are exploring their own identities and orientation. Let’s take a look at how this tactic affects the community after the gap:
Gatekeeping comes in many forms, and all are toxic. Some are more obvious than others.
The basic idea behind gatekeeping is that it is a person or institution telling a person that they do not belong somewhere. Telling an asexual they do not belong in queer spaces when they do.
By not allowing them space to express themselves, you advocating them repressing who they are, which can be a harmful and toxic thing. Having to hide who they were was hard enough to begin with, and being around people who effectively want to put them back in the closet is not a good thing.
How are some ways that people practice gatekeeping?
- Telling trans people they are not real women/men.
- Telling nonbinary people that their gender is made up.
- Prohibiting a trans person from using your gender-specific services due to their appearance or inability or choice not to align their gender expression with their gender identity.
- Telling anyone their gender is made up.
- Yes, even the ridiculous ones. It’s valid to that person, and if it helps them find an identity then that’s great.
- Making fun of pronouns, or arguing inaccurate dictionary definitions for “they.” (it has always been plural, and has always implied virtual distance or unfamiliarity)
- Telling a trans person that they should do drag. Drag is a very specific style of entertainment that does not predicate transgenderism. Some trans do drag, some don’t. Don’t make them feel like they have to be an entertainer just to be who they are.
- Don’t tell an asexual person they can’t be queer. Just because they do not experience sexual attraction does not mean they don’t experience romantic and platonic physical attraction. See my article on the Split Attraction Model
- Don’t tell your children that you would kill yourself if you woke up the opposite gender one day.
- Under any circumstances should you tell a bisexual person that they should just be ‘pan.’ I understand you’d like to point out that one means “two” and one means “all” and that “bisexual is transphobic.” It can mean two or more, or simply ‘two’ as in I am attracted to cis/transwomen and another gender. There are plenty of genders. Liking only two isn’t phobic against all the other ones.
- Don’t tell them you have to get a gender reassignment surgery to be a real trans person.
There are plenty more, but those are just some of the things that I’ve experienced. Saying or doing things of this nature tells the trans person that they are not valid and keeps from them being included and is an attack against normalizing transgender and nonbinary persons. It erases us and keeps us from being free. Let us live. Let us be. Ok? Great.