How the younger generation has influenced the perception of sexuality and what it means today.
Content Warning: This article discusses sexuality, homophobia, transphobia, and bullying.
I am sure, the first thing that comes to mind when the words 'Gen Z' are mentioned in our day-to-day life, are the words 'woke', 'anti-social', and 'snowflakes'. This is often a warped perception the older generation has since the LGBT community has transformed to accept more identities, becoming LGBTQIA+.
The empathetic generation
As someone born in Gen Z, I have found that growing up as technology developed into what it is today was a privilege, as it helped me explore my identity with support from online communities.
These communities were full of teenagers in the younger generations, helping support one another when it felt like our parents and grandparents wouldn't. This is why this generation is considered more accepting and empathetic of different identities in the LGBTQIA+ community.
This was further fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic as these LGBT-based amino apps continued to grow by helping combat loneliness and promote a sense of empathy for the struggles others are going through.
"Amidst isolation, I faced a crossroad with my newfound free time: to indulge in it or strategically use it to further understand myself" - Mykel Broady
I believe most of the generation decided to take the same path as Mykel, going through a journey through the pandemic to better understand how they view and identify themselves. The rise of TikTok has helped this significantly throughout this time by providing a great community full of LGBTQIA+ influencers, who create educational and supportive content to empathise with others.
The battle of understanding
Have you ever felt so misunderstood by parents or relatives?
You're not alone.
Based on my personal experience, exploring your identity from the older generation's perspective is considered taboo. This is because they tend to be set on one viewpoint only, which is what the world was like before the laws on gay marriage were changed, and before body dysmorphia was recognised as a genuine condition. The LGBT community was not accepted then, so they do not 'believe in it'. However, society has developed throughout the years to become more accepting of this.
So why is it such a battle to get them to understand?
Believe me, I know the feeling.
Growing up being known as the outcast of the friendship group as I was considered a 'tomboy' in my teenage years, I was bombarded with constant questions from my relatives: 'Are you a lesbian?' 'Are you a boy or a girl?'. I had no answer to either of these questions as I was trying to figure this out for myself.
Dealing with the older generation as someone who is part of the LQBTQIA+ community is extremely tiring. It feels like a constant battle with a brick wall, as they are often not willing to listen to what you have to say. Constantly being known as 'snowflakes' when we are simply trying to express ourselves is frustrating.
When it comes to Gen Z, as a generation, we acknowledge that the older generation did not have access to the same support systems we do today, and as a result, it feels as though they are taking out their frustrations on a generation that simply forced society to change its values and helped pioneer changes in the law to allow gay marriage to become legal.
"In older generations, people were often told what feelings to have." - Sara Oswalt
The older generation may never understand how the LGBTQIA+ community works, and what we have been through to gain acceptance from society. It is sad to admit, but at least as a generation, with younger generations following suit behind us, we have more than enough support from one another to get through.
If you are experiencing any issues with relatives not accepting you and feel you require support please visit these sources: