Discrimination against the LGBTQ Community
“Everyone deserves to be respected and have equal rights, whatever their sexual orientation, race, or gender. People in the LGBTQ community constantly must struggle and protest to gain rights that are easily available to everyone else. The riots and protests the LGBTQ requires just to gain awareness about the prejudice against them is unfair, and the community shouldn’t need to fight state laws and public opinion just to be themselves.
Members of the LGBTQ community have been fighting for their rights for centuries, most often having to resort to a protest. Many people think that the LGBTQ community was only created recently due to it finally gaining rights they’ve wished for for so long, but that is incorrect. People have been lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and more for just as long as people have been heterosexual. Unfortunately, members of the community were treated even worse in old times than they are now, which caused many to go into hiding and stay in the closet, most likely causing people to assume there weren’t as many members as there actually were. Being queer used to have horrendous consequences, such as “Beginning in the 16th century, lawmakers in Britain began to categorize homosexual behaviour as criminal rather than simply immoral. In the 1530s, during the reign of Henry VIII, England passed the Buggery Act, which made sexual relations between men a criminal offense punishable by death. In Britain sodomy remained a capital offense punishable by hanging until 1861” (Levy).
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This was not all, for just two decades later, the Parliament passed an amendment saying that any males of same-sex in a relationship were to be prosecuted. This law did not count for female same-sex relationships, though, but that was only because the male legislators could not imagine it to be possible. Also, in Germany a law was passed that made it so males in a same-sex relationship would end up in prison and lose their rights (Levy). Eventually, the community began to fight back for rights that were taken away from them but easily available to everyone else. One best known example of a gay rights movement is the Stonewall Riot, where “In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, was raided by the police. Nearly 400 people joined a riot that lasted 45 minutes and resumed on succeeding nights” (Levy). The Stonewall Riot was a historic event for the community as it showed that they were unwilling to endure the harsh treatment against them any longer.
It was led by Marsha P. Johnson, an African-American trans woman, and Sylvia Rivera, an activist for gay and transgender rights. The story of their bravery and passion inspires many people in the community, helping them to gain confidence to stand up for themselves when in a bad situation. Another riot that took place due to unfairness in society was the White Night Riots. This took place because the man who shot Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected into political office, and George Richard Moscone, who was Milk’s friend, a mayor, and a known supporter for minorities, was only sentenced guilty with voluntary manslaughter instead of murder. The community was outraged that he got off easy and marched down to the City Hall, even going as far as damaging the building (LGBTQ Rights). These examples all show how terrible the LGBTQ community has been treated for so long just for wanting to be themselves and love whoever they want, causing them to have to fight for what’s right.
It took until 2015 for same-sex marriage to be legalized in the United States, finally giving same-sex couples the same right that heterosexual couples have had since the beginning of time. Even so, there were still many people who were against this law, saying it was unnatural and goes against their religion. Businesses would refuse to interact with non-heterosexual individuals, claiming it was within their right to choose whether to do business with a community member due to their freedom of religion. An example of this is how “In 2013 the New Mexico Supreme Court reviewed a case where the owner of a photography business refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding. The owners of the business stated that they did not agree with same-sex marriage based on religious beliefs. The owners argued that the state’s religious freedom law should protect them from enforcement of the state’s HUMAN RIGHTS Act” (Freedom of Religion). The court ruled in the end that the Human Rights Act was violated by the owners, but this was not the last time something like this would occur where the laws of religious freedom and anti-discrimination had conflicted. Many states did just about anything they could to prevent these couples from marrying, even going as far as banning heterosexual marriages, too. This especially took place in Alabama, as “A year after the same-sex marriage ruling, twelve Alabama counties were still not issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Eleven counties had simply stopped issuing marriage licenses to all couples regardless of sex or gender” (LGBTQ Rights and State Laws). These events all prove how society would refuse to accept LGBTQ lifestyles into their lives, even if what the community was doing didn’t affect them personally.
Though things are better for the community now than they used to be, there are still plenty of injustices against them. Multiple states create state laws that they disguise as laws that will protect the citizens but actually just discriminate against the LGBTQ. Unfortunately for them, these laws usually end up with the state losing thousands of dollars and support from businesses until the law is revoked. One well known anti-LGBTQ law is North Carolina’s law that was called the House Bill 2 or HB2, as “The law states that people must use the restroom intended for the sex listed on their birth certificate, thus making it difficult for transgender individuals to use the restroom of their gender identity” (Michaels). This law prevents transgender people from using the bathroom they are most comfortable with, instead forcing them to use the bathroom that aligns with their biological sex. Critics will argue that it’s dangerous for women and children to be share a bathroom with a transgender individual, saying that a male could dress up in drag and attack them.
But, as mentioned in LGBTQ Rights and State Laws, “In response to the suggestion that transgender women pose a threat to other women in bathrooms, the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union stated that there is no evidence that such assaults have ever occurred”. This proves how this law was not made to actually protect the people, but to spread hate against the LGBTQ. It’s more likely for either transgender or non-gender conforming individuals to be harmed due to this law than anyone else since this available easily to hate crimes against them. In response to this bill, many people began to boycott North Carolina, especially singers and other celebrities that were planning to visit and tourists, costing the state thousands of dollars. A similar situation to this also occurred in Indiana after it introduced a bill that would allow businesses to refuse to serve people if they went against the business’ religious beliefs. The result of this law was not unkind, though, as “The backlash against the proposal in Indiana was especially harsh. Several companies, including Apple, threatened to remove business from the state, and governors in Connecticut, New York, and Washington barred state-funded travel to the state. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the law ‘flies the face of the kinds of values that people all across the country strongly support’” (Freedom of Religion). The laws, and many others, all show how far states will go to refuse basic rights for everyone, but hopefully this will not come without consequences.
A common argument against the LGBTQ community is that same-sex couples go against people’s religions and that married couples are meant to have children. Numerous people will mention how “Marriage, of course, has immense religious significance to people of faith, although its meaning and significance varies greatly from religion to religion and especially from culture to culture” (Preface to “”How Did Same-Sex Marriage Become Legal in the United States?””) and that same-sex couples are unnatural, making them undeserved of the right to marry. These same people will also say how a main purpose of marriage is to have kids, but same-sex couples will be unable to produce children on their own. However, religion is a personal matter and should not interfere with somebody else’s lifestyle, seeing as the United States especially is praised for its freedom of religion. Also, there are hundreds of straight couples that decide not to have kids whether because they are unable to or just do not want to but are not overly attacked by churches. It is often unremembered that the ritual of marriage does not conform to just one religion, but can be performed in ways that will fit with the couple’s beliefs, even if they are atheists. This is shown in the quote “…these opponents are forgetting that the marriage license is a civil, not a religious, document. It favors no particular religious group or its views on homosexuality.
It is not a stamp of approval—only a permission slip, if you will, to get married. Religious arguments against extending it to same-sex couples should be irrelevant in a country that boasts freedom of religion. …The marriage license also mandates no belief in God, and, certainly, thousands of non believers get married every year, illustrating yet again the nonreligious nature of civil marriage” (Preface to “”How Did Same-Sex Marriage Become Legal in the United States?”). The concept of having children is one that is alike the concept of marriage, as it is also subject to one’s personal opinion and how “The marriage license contains no requirement whatsoever to produce children, and in fact, no religion makes procreation a requirement for receiving its blessing or participating in its sacraments. Millions of heterosexuals in this country who have no intention of procreating, or who are too old or unable to do so, obtain their marriage licenses, get married, and receive the blessing of their respective churches” (Preface to “”How Did Same-Sex Marriage Become Legal in the United States?””). Marriage and reproduction are both choices in life that are not required, but everyone should still have the right available to them to choose whether they want to or not. If they do choose to go through with either event, the way it is done only concerns the beliefs and opinions of the individuals participating and should not need a stranger’s or the whole world’s approval.
If everyone just respected the life choices of other people, then the problems in the world would be much less. Unfortunately, many people don’t do this, causing many LGBTQ people to become homeless, jobless, hated, and even killed just for trying to be themself. Many of these community members being murdered just for their sexual orientation or gender are also just children or teenagers. Nobody should have to deal with this.”