Being a man in the LGBTQIA+ community
by See Change Ambassador, Michael Verrecchia
My name is Michael Verrecchia, and I’m a mental health ambassador for See Change. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, we are often left with some questions around what are some of the expectations are for men in this community.
Plenty of men like myself will probably agree with some of the sentiments I’m about to share with you.
That yes, we are considered to be weaker, camper, more flamboyant, more in touch with our feminine side, hating of sports, lovers of fashion and dance and anything that can be deemed flamboyant, sparkly or fabulous.
But that may not be the case for many within our community. We too are just like everybody else in the world; the only difference is that we identify as LGBTQIA+.
Inappropriate questions asked that other men may not be asked due to their sexuality or gender identity is a very common thing that can be brought up under the setting of meeting a stranger for the first time.
No one is going to walk up and ask a heterosexual man ‘Oh, where do you stick it?’ No! Unfortunately, as men of the LGBTQIA+ community, we are always asked inappropriate questions about our behaviour in the bedroom and about our preferences in the bedroom. These are often brought onto us uninvited by strangers.
So just remember: If you’d feel uncomfortable being asked that questions, maybe a stranger would feel uncomfortable too.
Is there a stereotype that impacts LGBTQIA+ men and their mental health?
Yes, for many! Unlike myself, there are plenty of men within the LGBTQIA+ community – or many members of the LGBTQIA+ community – who adore sports, who adore what would be known as ‘heteronormative’ things. They still enjoy them. The only difference? Their sexual preference.
So remember, we’re all human, we all have the same interests and we all share different interests. But the basis of our sexual preference doesn’t change the basis of what our hobbies are.
What are some of the barriers that LGBTQIA+ men experience?
There are many barriers. We may be deemed as ‘weaker’ than what’s deemed as the ‘normal man’ in today’s society. Or it could be toxic masculinity can shove us down because of the fact that we identify as liking the same gender. Therefore, that instantly takes a target on our character and who we are as a person.
But at I’ve said, that’s not the case. We too are human, just like you.
Is there a perception I would like to challenge?
Yes, plenty of perceptions. We are just like everybody else. No matter our skin tone, no matter the colour of our eyes or hair, our sexual preferences, what we identify as in our gender within ourselves.
Just because we have those slight differences doesn’t make us any less human than you or anybody else in this world.
So remember to be kind and understanding because you don’t know what the person in front of you may be going through. Sometimes they may not even know what they’re going through. It never hurts to be kind.
When you want to ask an inappropriate question to a member of the LGBTQIA+ community – or of any community that you’re not part of – just think to yourself: how would you feel being asked that question by a stranger?
And remember, always be kind.
If you are having a tough time at the moment and need to reach out for support, please contact any of the following