LGBT Rights and State Laws

June 1, 2017
By tinyasian BRONZE, Marlborough, Massachusetts
tinyasian BRONZE, Marlborough, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

For many people, being part of the LGBT community was something that was kept in secret. However, for the past couple of years, they have taken a step forward as more people are coming out. In recent studies, it has been found that about 4% of the US population are LGBT. That means about 12,856,000 Americans are LGBT and that’s number is increasing every day. Yet as time goes on, these rights are slowly being taken away from them and nobody's taken steps to do anything about it, despite the massive amounts of attention this issue has been getting.


The topic of the bathroom bill corresponds to this growing problem. The bill determines the access to bathrooms for transgender individuals. Originally, the bill was passed by each state and not by the country. Nevertheless, it has taken the country by storm.  Unfortunately, there’s states like North Carolina trying to take these rights away. On the 30th of March, lawmakers in the state passed a law that blocks anti-discrimination laws for the LGBT community. How would you feel if you were given a gift then have it taken away the next minute? That’s how they must be feeling. They have taken a great step forward in an attempt to gain rights and state laws for their protection and once they achieved it, for people in North Carolina, it was so rudely stripped away from them. There is, without a doubt, many who have heard and are outraged by the actions of North Carolina lawmakers but what have the majority of them done? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This is why we need people like you and me to help and do something about it rather than just sit there and waste away.


Additionally, the government itself has a play in this. If you happen to be living under a rock, let me inform you of a certain Mike Pence. The greater part of the Republican party already have these set views on things LGBT-related. They have stated numerous times that they do not support gay-marriage and they should need receive the same legal benefits as same sex marriages, yet Pence takes it to a whole other level. Mike Pence, our vice president as of January 2017, has some very “conservative” views against gay and transgender people. In the past, Mike Pence has stated that gay marriage would end in dreadful results. Moreover, he has stated that he would like to fund conversion therapy, psychotherapy methods used to change one’s gender identity or sexual orientation. This itself is not right. I feel sorry that someone has to make someone else go through such pain should to fit in with their own personal views. I never thought that someone could be so ignorant to the world and its people could have such an important role in leading it. I always thought that those in power should be aware and do their best to help the people of its country but it appears that I have been mistaken. Continuing on, this may also break the 14th amendment of the US constitution. If the government were to somehow reject and disallow all same-sex marriage, that would be breaking our 14th as it would revoke one of the privileges we have as citizens of the United States. In addition, members of the LGBT community would be denied equal protection of the laws if they were forced to subject to Pence’s beliefs such as conversion therapy.


Surprisingly enough, the attention the media is giving them is negatively impacting them. Yes, attention is good along with bringing awareness to the problem at hand, but there’s always a limit. As time continues forth, there seems to be a growing number of LGBT representations in the media. For example, countless number of tv shows have some sort of “different” character that ends with them coming out. In addition, there are scenes with LGBT representation in big movies but it’s barely a second long and if you blink, you’ll miss it. There was the 0.5 second scenes in Finding Dory that featured a lesbian couple as well as Beauty and the Beast featuring Gaston’s henchman. However, these moments will still lead to loads of controversy. Some countries in the world have even taken to banning the movie from theaters because of this one character. I’ve never heard of something so foolish. Just because there happens to be one scene where it references to being queer, you must restrict the entire thing from everyone’s viewing pleasure. I thought that we were taught in kindergarten that we should respect someone for whoever they are but it appears that it no longer applies in the world. Ultimately, this violates fundamental human rights since one of those very rights is freedom of expression as stated by the United Nations. For some countries to prevent many from seeing a movie with any relation to LGBT, violates this right.


 Of course, there are some people who believe that the community is safe. That they don’t face discrimination and should just “suck it up” and stop being so “sensitive.” Some even assume that the laws are unnecessary and that they never even faced discrimination and have the full support of the government. Republican senator Rand Paul says that they, the LGBT community, should have nothing to fear and agree that they don’t need laws. There is also a good number of people who claim that their community would never discriminate LGBT people and any new laws would be unnecessary and a waste of time. Furthermore, a select few are convinced that the laws aren’t making any difference. Nonetheless, this can’t explain the numerous amount of hate crimes targeted against those within the LGBT community. Our current laws that protect these victims aren’t enough. In the United States, less than half of the LGBT population have hate crimes law that cover sexual orientation and gender identity. What about the people who believe their community is 100% safe and any laws are unnecessary? I beg to differ. After some research, it was to my surprise that in my home state of Massachusetts, the number of hate crimes are increasing and in Boston, most are LGBT related. Just last year, it was reported that about ? of all the hate crimes in the city were directed at these individuals. I can’t believe that hate crimes still exist in a place that I thought was safe and welcoming for all. This just proves why we need more laws and rights for them or else things like this will happen again. What have they ever done to deserve this treatment? Think of the Orlando night club shooting or the death of Matthew Sheppard. All those people dead and some even have the audacity to turn a blind eye to this and claim they don’t need any protection laws. It isn’t a waste of time if it saves lives. If we don’t do something about this, who is to say when it will happen again.


 The road to gaining these rights and state laws for the LGBT community might be a long and difficult one. Everyday, innocent people are facing discrimination just because of they way they are. They’ll be facing even more difficult obstacles in the future, yet those can be easily avoided. A difference could be made by simply speaking out. Maybe you could write to or contact important figures that could make a big impact on the LGBT rights movement. What else can be done? Perhaps we can to bring more awareness and try to change the government’s view on the topic. By earning the full support from all parties in the government, nothing would be impossible. But either way they’ll be needing our help and it comes down to people just like you and me to do something and make a difference.

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