International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia

Dear Pride Family,

Discrimination against our community is an insidious thing. The words most commonly used to describe it, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, among others, share the same suffix “-phobia”, from the Greek “Phobos”, meaning “fear of.”

“I’m not afraid of them, that’s ridiculous.” A sentiment I heard echoed throughout my social landscape as a child. It was used often enough that it became a part of my own justification for those phobias that I too, was primed to have from a young age. But it isn’t true, is it? There is no hate not born of fear.

I’ve been plagued by a paradox, dear reader, for many years now. I call it “Ender’s Paradox”, after the character Ender Wiggin from Orson Scott Card’s award-winning 1985 science fiction novel Ender’s Game, unequivocally my favorite book of all time. This novel’s central message revolves around acceptance of beings that seem wholly foreign, trying to understand them, to push through the fear, and in doing so, to love them. Despite this, Orson Scott Card’s views on the LGBTQ+ community are strikingly at odds with the message that resonated so strongly with me and countless others. Card served on the board of directors for a group that stands against marriage equality: The National Organization for Marriage, and has made clear his opinions on our community on multiple occasions. So the paradox is as follows: how can someone hold this ideology on queerness that is uniquely toxic even amongst his peers, and write one of the most compelling arguments for acceptance and respect towards others within my lifetime? I don’t understand and perhaps I never will.

When I first read Ender’s Game as an eight-year-old, I was far too young to fully grasp its themes. But with each subsequent revisit, I was nevertheless imbued with a deep sense of empathy, one that challenged me to look deeper than the cliched remarks made by the people around me, to find the humanity within the remarker and the ones they’ve marked. I was told the classic “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”, during P.E. as a Freshman in high school during my first Transgender Day of Silence, 2008. At that juncture, I was one step out of the closet as a nonbinary, pansexual person, in the process of unlearning the phobias instilled in me. During drills on the football field, I heard heated debates about Prop 8 as I struggled to breathe through my nose, while the sweat on my face threatened to unstick the duct tape I’d adhered to my lips a few hours prior. I considered myself lucky that I wasn’t one of the ones whose tape was being forcibly removed by other students who had fun parroting quips they had heard from someone who must have thought themselves so damn funny. The two religious student groups on campus took a more organized approach, designating the following day as the “Day of Truth”.

The truth is, homophobes, biphobes, and transphobes are scared of us. They are scared of what our unbridled freedom means for the narrative they’ve been told, and how much time it would mean they have wasted investing in a cis/heteronormative worldview that is broken and restrictive for everyone involved, including themselves. Facing that truth is much too painful. It’s so much easier to seethe.

Ultimately, I’m scared too. I never thought that sixteen years later I would be reliving the days of Prop 8. But here we are, with the future of marriage equality hanging in the balance, not to mention the countless anti-trans bills that have been introduced this year alone.

The main difference between then and now is I have access to more resources than ever before. I am so incredibly fortunate to work for an organization that provides opportunities to develop and practice advocacy and activism, like our Advocacy Team and the annual Pride Power Summit that just wrapped up last weekend. The threats against our community are real, but so is our power when we come together. As we celebrate sexual and gender diversities on May 17 for International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, I plan to lean into that power that we have together.

With Pride,

Franklin Younger (they/them)
Staff Accountant


About San Diego Pride

San Diego Pride raises funds primarily through festival ticket and beverage sales, and through sponsorships, and exhibitor fees. These funds support San Diego Pride’s community philanthropy which has distributed more than $2.5 million in advancement of its mission to foster pride, equality, and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities locally, nationally, and globally.