Is it me, or do most LGBTQ+ people seem to be super over-achievers? Across multiple professional contexts—from the corporate world to activism, even in government—the LGBTQ+ community seems to be disproportionately represented at the top. I, myself, was an A-student who went on to earn two graduate degrees, as did many of my friends. And now comes quantifiable data showing that LGBTQ+ people earn degrees at higher rates than our straight counterparts. Is it just self-selection? Is there something in the water, or are we genetically predisposed to be “smarter”?
As much as it might be tempting to believe the latter, the same study that produced this data posits that this level of over-achieving is really an act of resilience in the face of victimization. Having been marginalized and discriminated against for so long, many of us over-compensate with other forms of success. When your identity is all but erased for much of your life, you need to find other ways to be seen.
Which, of course, is patently unfair. We shouldn’t have to strive to be better-than just to earn a place at the table. Also, many in our queer communities don’t fit this over-achiever stereotype. In fact, the intersecting evils of homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, and other types of discrimination make it even harder for our community to succeed.
Equality should not have to come with qualifications.
Here at the Leonard-Litz LGBTQ+ Foundation, we are committed to helping our entire community achieve their full potential. By supporting organizations that advance the interests and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community, we hope to help imagine a world where we don’t need to be smarter, wittier, better, just to be treated with equal dignity.
Well… we don’t have to be better, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get to be. Some people are just naturally more fabulous. Hey, maybe we’re just born this way after all.