Thoughts on LGBTQ

People who know me well won’t likely see any surprises here, but I don’t think I’ve done a good enough job of clearly sharing certain values publicly, so I’d like to correct this now.

I’m pro-LGBTQ rights. I think LGBTQ people should have the same rights as anyone else, and I don’t think they should be discriminated against. I feel this should be a worldwide right, not a local issue.

I think everyone should be free to marry whomever they want. Truth be told, I’m even in favor of poly marriages that include more than two people.

I think people should be free to choose their bathrooms based on their gender identity. Really though I think that co-ed bathrooms are a throwback and unnecessary, at least for mature adults. When I was in the dorms at UC Berkeley, we had one shared co-ed bathroom on the floor that everyone used, and it worked just fine. We all used the same sinks, showers, and stalls (separately of course). There were no urinals.

I have personal friends, colleagues, and business partners who are LGBTQ, and that’s been the case for years. Some are in gay marriages or partnerships.

I welcome more LGBTQ friends into my life. We usually connect well, especially values-wise. Living a non-mainstream life is one way that many people embark on a path of conscious growth, so that’s a big piece that we usually have in common, regardless of our different life experiences.

Business-wise I welcome LGBTQ customers. We’ve had LGBTQ workshop attendees at (probably most) of our live events since we started doing them in 2009. We’ve also had some LGBTQ members in Conscious Growth Club since we started in 2017. Inside CGC we maintain a very sane and welcoming community based on reasonableness. Here’s a snippet from our community rules:

Exercise Good Judgment, Reasonableness, and Mutual Respect

This is a community for members to help each other grow, so please treat it as such. Personal attacks and name-calling as well as profane, pornographic, racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQ, or otherwise demeaning or offensive communication will not be tolerated. Recognize that there’s a human being behind every post, and behave accordingly. When you disagree, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

I actually just added the “anti-LGBTQ” item to the list today. I felt like it was already covered less directly, and adding it doesn’t affect what we’re already doing, but I’d like to call it out explicitly. I want LGBTQ people to know that making them feel welcomed in our community is important to us (especially in ways that other parts of the world may not make them feel welcomed).

Recently I’ve been making a conscious effort to make my creative work more inclusive. For instance, instead of using words like boyfriend or girlfriend, I’ll use partner instead. I’m also watching out for when I use gendered pronouns where it may not be appropriate to do so. I’m not perfect at this since my upbringing and education were rooted to different standards. For at least the past year or two, I’ve been consciously thinking about this and trying to catch these unconscious behaviors that could make my work less welcoming. If you catch something that you think I’ve overlooked in my work this year and beyond, please do point it out to me.

You could also say that I’m anti-(anti-LGBTQ), meaning that I will kick people out of my sphere for anti-LGBTQ expressions or behaviors, especially those that make LGBTQ people feel unsafe or unwelcome. So if you’re one of those people who thinks that anyone should be free to decline business to LGBTQ patrons, I don’t want you to patronize my business. If you think that the gender identity or lifestyle of many of my friends is wrong or misguided, I will take it personally even if some of them wouldn’t take it personally. You can still read the free articles on my blog as much as you want though, and hopefully some of it will help you crack open your crusty-ass heart. But definitely don’t try to bring that attitude into our community, such as our live events or CGC.

To me this isn’t about the business ramifications. I just think it’s the right stance as a human being.

If I know that someone is closeted, I’m not going to out them of course. I think people should be free to disclose what they want to, when they want to, and with whom they decide to share it. I’m disgusted by the idea of forcefully outing someone without their consent.

I think LGBTQ people should be free to show PDAs (public displays of affection) whenever they want. I often hold hands, hug, and kiss in public, and I think anyone should be free to enjoy that form of expression openly.

I’m straight and always have been, and I love being male. I do have some sexual kinks, but they only involve women. I’d say I’m a solid 0 on the Kinsey scale (0 = straight, 6 = gay), and I don’t think I could stretch to a 1 if I tried. Apparently that’s unusual though. Most people tend to be somewhere in the 2-5 range, and it’s also common to fluctuate in one’s sexual preferences over time. So my pro-LGBTQ values aren’t because I count myself a member of this group based on gender identity or sexual preferences, but I do resonate with them on values alignment.

My wife is bisexual but more into men than women. I think she rates herself around a Kinsey 2.3. I rather like that we’ve been able to share a mutual interest in some women that we’ve both found attractive. On a day to day basis though, I can’t say that this aspect is a big part of our lives. I’m sharing this part because it’s true, not because I want to lay claim to the “married to a bisexual woman” as the main reason for my values here. Rachelle does have strong pro-LGBTQ values though, and it’s fair to say that her values in this area have influenced me to pay more attention to LGBTQ-related fairness and justice than I did before we met. So she does deserve some credit for that.

In truth what’s more real and visceral to me is feeling a lot of compassion for what LGBTQ people have to deal with in today’s world, not just people I know personally but everyone. This also links up with personal feelings of disgust towards religions that promote anti-LGBTQ bigotry.

A specific triggering event that made me want to write this post now was watching the recent Apple TV+ documentary series Visible, which reviews the past few decades of how LGBTQ people have been portrayed on television. Rachelle and I watched it together, and I highly recommend it. While most of it didn’t surprise me, and much of it was like a walk down memory lane with old TV shows like Three’s Company, I will say that it helped me feel even more empathy for the struggles LGBTQ people have had to deal with – and are still dealing with.

So if you count yourself among the LGBTQ community or their friends, I just want you to know that I care, not just with words but also with actions to make our community more welcoming, compassionate, and supportive of you being you.

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Read Thoughts on LGBTQ by Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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