Cannabis and the LGBTQ+ Community

Hey folks! Another week, another chance to build your cannabis knowledge so you can flex your brain muscles in front of all of your friends and family. This week is a very special blog post because this month is pride month! As supporters, allies, and employers of members of the LGBTQ+ community we figured this month would be a great opportunity for us to talk about some of the ways that cannabis culture and LGBTQ+ culture have intersected (and how they still do). So, let’s dive into it!

Different issues, same problem

Many of you are probably wondering, what in the world would cannabis and non-heteronormative lifestyles have to do with each other? Well for one thing, up until very recently, mainstream culture vilified both and passed laws to diminish and demonize them; utilizing everything from bad science to religious doctrine to try to push them out. Now, I’m not saying that cannabis advocates have had to deal with anything remotely on par with what members of the LGBTQ+ community have had to deal with, obviously there’s no comparison. However, both groups have been hated for a similar primary reason: A lack of understanding and education combined with an oft times willful ignorance. Almost without exception, if someone is educated on a topic or group they tend to be more accepting and understanding in regard to them.

Now, being persecuted due to the ignorance of the masses isn’t the only thing that connects cannabis and LGBTQ+ culture, there’s also the AIDS crisis.

Wait….the what?

So, back in the 70’s and 80’s, there was a massive series of outbreaks involving the Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, otherwise known as HIV/AIDS. This epidemic swept across North America killing tens of thousands of people in the US alone. The disease is primarily transmitted through sexual relations and long-term contact with an infected persons bodily fluid. It began to be transmitted within the homosexual community and it was incorrectly assumed by many groups (including doctors) that it was a “gay virus”. This couldn’t have been further from the truth as globally the highest rate of transmission for HIV/AIDS is through heterosexual relations. Back in the 80’s, they didn’t know that or more accurately, didn’t want to acknowledge that fact. As such many organizations and groups started to distance themselves from those leading a non-heteronormative lifestyle and began to hate on them even harder than they were before. Again, it all comes back to a lack of understanding and a willingness to supplement knowledge with hatred and fear. Not a great look for society.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re saying to yourself “Brynn, that’s depressing as hell, but how does cannabis factor in?” Well, I’m glad you asked internal voice. The answer lies in the potential medicinal benefits that we now more readily acknowledge cannabis as possessing. In case you were not aware, HIV/AIDS has some pretty awful symptoms, some of which can be alleviated through cannabis consumption. Since the gay community was unable to receive adequate medical care from a society that feared and loathed them, they were left with no choice but to turn to alternative options, like cannabis. It helped alleviate pain, bolster appetite and provided a general sense of peace for a lot of people who were scared and dying.

Have some Pride.

In a lot of ways, we’ve come pretty far from those days, but in many others we’re still pretty medieval in our treatment of people who live a non-heteronormative lifestyle. That’s why it’s so important that we take this month to reflect on and celebrate LGBTQ+ culture. The hatred and fear of those who are different from the norm needs to be washed away, and exposure to different cultures as well as a willingness to acknowledge our own failings when it comes to our treatment of others is the way to do that. So, this month and every month, lets all come together and remember that we’re all in this life together and that hate is never the answer.

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