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Twitter Thread About How Queer People Are Forced To Create Defense Mechanism And Sacrifice Authenticity Goes Viral (Interview With Expert)
LGBT+ rights, anti-racism, and mental health activist Alexander Leon’s Twitter thread went viral when he shared some words of wisdom with the internet.
Twitter Thread About How Queer People Are Forced To Create Defense Mechanism And Sacrifice Authenticity Goes Viral (Interview With Expert)
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LGBT+ rights, anti-racism, and mental health activist Alexander Leon’s Twitter thread went viral when he shared some words of wisdom with the internet.

He struck a chord with many people when he addressed the topic of queer people creating a defense mechanism to protect themselves from being judged by society.

According to Leon, queer people “sacrifice authenticity” to reduce “humiliation & prejudice.” And a part of growing up is sifting through your life and figuring which parts of you are real and which ones you used as pieces of armor.

Bored Panda reached out to Leon to talk about the problems that queer people face. Scroll down for the in-depth interview.

“I'd been writing an essay on a recent revelation I'd had about how long and arduous my journey of accepting myself has been post-coming out, and how much lengthier it has been than I anticipated,” Leon said. “I wanted to publish the piece but told myself it was too personal and niche and that no-one would connect with it, so as a compromise with myself I decided to tweet the main thrust of the essay instead... and then it went viral! I've since published the essay.”

Bored Panda asked Leon what the biggest issue that queer people face in 2020 is. “Our community is so diverse and there is a multitude of different problems faced by its many iterations across the world.”

“I think that trans people are currently at the epicenter of some of the most toxic and dehumanizing rhetoric across the world, and I think as a community we need to band together to protect and support our trans siblings in the face of unprecedented hostility.”

The activist continued: “I think another big issue faced by almost everyone in our community is managing our mental health. LGBTI+ people are more at risk of poorer mental health than the general population, and yet in many countries, there aren't sufficient services to support us in this. I think this is a conversation we urgently need to have.”

According to Leon, “it's important to know that the person you are is valid and worthy of love, no matter what anyone tells you, or what you find yourself believing.”

“So many of us grow up in circumstances where we convince ourselves that we can never be our authentic selves and still be allowed to thrive. But the truth is we are at our most beautiful when we are authentic,” he said. “If others are struggling with your authenticity, that reflects entirely on them.”

Leon’s tweets resonated with a lot of people. The thread got 196,000 likes and was retweeted over 56,700 times. Because of the popularity of his tweets and the attention the topic got, Leon wrote an article on the topic and published it on Medium.

“I had learned, in my ungainly ascension into adolescence, that my true self, the person behind the performance, couldn’t possibly fit in,” he writes.

“I had come to internalize the idea that my authentic self was fundamentally and irreparably flawed. To act out a different life was to escape this predicament, so I sacrificed authenticity to minimize humiliation and prejudice. I built up an enviable, hardy suit of armor,” Leon reveals.

“And then, years later, when I finally came out of the closet, desperate to share that I’d been unwittingly acting the entire time, I got stuck in it.”

According to Stonewall, 51 percent of black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) LGBT+ individuals in Great Britain face discrimination within the LGBT+ community itself.

Meanwhile, less than half lesbian, gay, and bi people (46 percent) and trans people (47 percent) can be open about their orientation and identity with their entire families.

However, around 32 percent of bi people also state that they can’t be open about their orientation with anyone in their families.

Comments (32)
Queen Of The Queers
This is absolutely true. As a queer pansexual female dating a girl, a lot of LGBTQ members either don't know what Pansexuality is, think that I am Bisexual (which I am not) or support and understand me. Please support us and don't hate us for who we are. We support straights, and so why shouldn't you return the favour? Love. That is all we are asking for. Love. THANK YOU!! Love you alll! Mwah!!
Tres D
Everybody growing up is struggling with who and what they are. Get over yourself! Stop playing the victim card!
Eirik Johnsbråten
I needed this. Thank you!
deanna woods
I have always known from a young age that I liked men and have no idea how hard it is to be a member of the LGBTQ community, but I have a lot of friends in the community and for some of them it has been hard to fit into the small town society that I live in. A lot of my LGBTQ friends have either moved to a bigger city or just try to keep that side of themselves incredibly private. I know one young female who thought that being baptized would make her straight because she didn't want to be a lesbian. I believe that she has since come to terms with it. I don't believe that the members of this community are just whining and want attention, they are just saying how hard it is to be in this community.
L
I dont think this is jsut queer people. I am a straight white female and I also had to change my personality to fit in or appear normal. I too, at 31 am still only jsut starting to adjust to feel and be myself.
Alicia De Sa
this isnt just a gay thing. its a straight thing too. Its a human thing. It's called the human condition. Hiding and editing away t hose bits of yourself you fear will bring you prejudice and shame. Life is hard. Harder for LGBTQ folks? absolutely. but this is the human experience. Being human = being isolated and misunderstood. Why? Because the human expierience is an expierienced, and no words can ever make another being truly understand. It cannot be explained. NO ONE grows up 'being 100% authentic' to who they are. Not a soul alive. Life is massive and exitential and difficult for everyone- wheter your cisgener, transgender, gay, straight, pansexual, asexual- whatever.
EC Moustache
L And Edward Doherty Im sure you mean well but look at some of the comments here and all the hate they contain. They are what some lgbtq+ people face everyday from people that they should be able to trust based solely on sexuality. When they are teens they often cannot escape this. This is a problem we are trying to raise awareness for so we can solve it, I don't see what's wrong with that.
Bella Langston
As others had said, this is not unique to LGBT people. I've felt this way many times myself.
Juan Alcorta
Life isn´t easy for 99% of the people, no matter your sexual orientation. I thought I was going to read an enlighting article instead of a feeling-sorry-for-myself one.
Edward Doherty
Yeah, everyone, EVERYONE, is taught/forced not to act like a self-involved douche when you’re a teen. It’s not a queer thing. Get over yourself. (I wouldn’t have to say that if you had learnt the lesson already)
Chris Longski
This comment has been deleted.
Chris Longski
“LGBTI+ people are more at risk of poorer mental health than the general population”. It's the other way around -- mental health issues drive them to dysphoria. Something like, If you don't like being this try being that...
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