This past weekend I gave the keynote address at the Mid-Atlantic LGBTQ+ Conference at Bloomsburg University. The title of my presentation was The Power of Words: Lies, Truth, and Liberated Community. In addition to sharing some of the wisdom of poets who inspired and aided me after I came out, I invited the audience to reflect on powerful words in their own lives. These included lies as well as truths.
Lies get so much of their power when they are unsaid, hidden in the folds of our inner life. Once brought into the light though they often shrivel up, lose so much of their power, and at times can suddenly look downright silly.
As people started filling in the hall and at the half way point during my talk, I invited audience members onto the stage. There I had two of my manual typewriters set up each with a sign in front of them. One said Lies and the other Truths. I asked them to consider the lies they have heard about themselves and about us as LGBTQ+ people. I asked them to think about the truths about themselves and us as LGBTQ+ that need to be shared. I invited them to type up these lies and truths–to manually punch out the words.
Here are Lies and Truths they shared. I also invite you to add your own lies and truths in the comment section.
You are not enough
It’s just a phase
bisexuality does not exist
people of the lgbt community are just looking for attention
it is not possible to switch pronouns
there are only 2 genders
lesbians hate men
I’m not enough
we can’t exist as people first and lgbt individuals second
you only think this because you are adopted
you are too sensitive to be a guy
I don’t have short hair because I am a lesbian
pansexuals and bisexuals always want to have threesomes
bisexuals don’t exist
random guy at bar — “Oh, you’re a lesbian? What a waste.”
my sexual identity means I have to act a certain way, you could be gay but you don’t have to…
you can’t like boys and girls. You have to choose one or none
because I was born with female parts, therefore I must be a girl
I am not a true trans male if I refer to my assigned at birth genitals
bisexuals are unfaithful
I am not enough
kids can’t be trans because they just don’t know yet
I am not worthy of what I have
black people are all the same
bisexuals are just confused
you’ll get over it
you don’t know yourself yet
I’m not good enough for love and affection
I should not be proud of who I am
being queer is abnormal
no one will love you if you don’t make up your mind (on gender)
no one will love you if you don’t like sex
people can be religious and accepting at the same time
bisexuals are a valid part of the LGBTQIA community. It is not a phase.
my identity is not determined by my birth sex, and I can define my bisexuality however I chose
sexuality is fluid and natural
not all religious people have to be straight
we have always been here. we always will.
I have value; I have worth
Asexuality is real
there is no correct way to be lgbtq+
You belong here
you are precious, so precious
Your Creator loves you as you are
I’m happy with who I am
My voice is important
My life is worth living. I can be happy
I am still nonbinary even though I am feminine presenting. My gender identity is valid.
Bisexuality is not a phase
I am everything I am supposed to be
It is true that transgender lives will not be erased, rather we will continue to thrive.
40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ
I am what I believe I am
We are valid, we are all beautiful, we matter too
who we are is not a choice
we aren’t ashamed of who we are
I am nonbinary but use binary pronouns
people say they accept me, but I know that most do not accept me fully, and I’m okay with that.
Being gay is okay; love yourself
my level of being out and physical expression does not change my identity
someone cannot understand your identity, but still love and support you. My parents don’t always understand, but they are the ones who support me the most.
you are capable of loving and being loved.