It is one of the biggest cliches in LGBTQ vernacular. When we came out, people tell us we are “accepted.” But an openly gay former English soccer captain is pushing back against that language.
Casey Stoney thinks we can do better.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Stoney, who manages the Manchester United’s women’s team, says she thinks the word “accepted” is a loaded term. It implies same-sex relations are a character flaw that should be forgiven.
“Why should my life just be accepted?,” she said. “It’s like I have to be accepted by society and I don’t like it. It’s not the right word to use if we’re talking about equality and human rights and just loving another human being. It should be the most normal thing in the world.”
Stoney came out as gay in 2014, citing the overwhelming support English diver Tom Daley received when he announced he was dating a man. At the time, Stoney said her sexuality was well-known within soccer circles, but not to the greater public. She credits her partner with giving her the strength to come out publicly.
Stoney has enjoyed a successful career in international soccer, captaining Great Britain’s women’s team in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. She made her most recent comments to the BBC in the midst of the fifth annual Rainbow Laces campaign.
“I want to educate myself all the time so I’m not ignorant,” she said. “I don’t use the wrong language and to make sure I understand and empathize with the difficulties that people face day-to-day so I’m not a part of that.”
While I don’t think people mean malice when they talk about “accepting” LGBTQ people, I agree with Stoney’s overall point. The word makes it seem as if we’re being granted permission to carry out our lives. Straight people aren’t told they are “accepted,” for example.
Support, and not just acceptance, is the most important emotional commodity that can be given to LGBTQ people. It encourages people to be out and proud, just like Stoney.