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Love is Love
Every gay and lesbian person who has been lucky enough to survive the turmoil of growing up is a survivor. Survivors always have an obligation to those who will face the same challenges” ( Paris). Everyone who breaks the status quo is seen as “different” and is almost instantly attacked. A girl dyes her hair bright red and gets denied of her place in mainstream music. A guy gets a tattoo that represents who he is and his boss fires him. People get attacked every day for different reasons. What if thereason is they love someone who society deems “not acceptable”? People who are a part of the LGBTQ/Q (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer) community experience that every day. They are ostracized and under attack for their entire lives, for something they “choose” to do. People who identify as anything other than heterosexual are often stereotyped and discriminated against, with few people as allies.
People who are a part of the LGBTQ community usually do not fit the stereotypes that society sets for them. According to Trinity College’s article on the subject, “Only a very small percentage [of homosexuals have] stereotypic mannerisms and characteristics” ("Myth and Reality- Some Facts about GLBT People”). Most people who are homosexual don’t actually fit the mold society has set for them. It could be a man at the office or the waitress at the local diner. A popular stereotype that society sets is that homosexual people fall into certain gender roles, where one person is in the “male” role and one is the “female” role. That is not usually the case. According to Trinity College, “Most gay and lesbian people work to develop relationships based on principles of equality and mutuality where there are loved for who they are and not for the roles they play” ("Myth and Reality- Some Facts about GLBT People”). This means they don’t usually fall into the gender roles that society has set for them. These stereotypes that society sets for the LGBTQ/Q community can make a person who identifies his/herself as LGBTQ/Q feel like even more of an outsider than they already are.
Being seen as outsiders,people that are a part of the LGBTQ/Q community are often targeted for hate crimes. According to USA Today, “Hate incidents against LGBT people and HIV-affected persons increased 13% from 2009 to 2010” (DiBlasio). While there have been many positive law changes recently, including the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military and the leagalization of marriage in eight states, the amount of hate crimes seem to be increasing. Perhaps it’s because more people are coming out about being homosexual, so “homophopic” people in society don’t feel they need to stay quiet either. Take, for example, this incident in the Bronx in 2010. The article states that a thirty-year-old man was, “ [burned] with a cigarette on his (explicit) and (explicit) as the other [suspects] jeered and shouted gay slurs... Then the attackers whipped the man with a chain and (expicit)” (Wilson). This is one of the many hate crimes that have occored in the last three years. This is being brought to the public attention. In an episode of the Fox television show Glee, a character who has been struggling with “coming out” to his classmates, arrived to the locker room to see his locker marked with the word “Fag”. He leaves as his teammates are saying slurs and bullying him. He goes on his Facebook page to see more slurs, which drives him to an unsuccessful suicide attempt (Adler). This brings to light the very real fact that many seemingly small hate crimes can lead to drastic actions from the victim, such as self harm or taking his/her own life. Hate crimes are a very overt way of discriminating against the LGBTQ community.
Although there are many positive law changes to help the LGBTQ/Q community, recently there have been some negative ones as well. Take for instance the news that is coming from North Carolina. David Zucchino states in his article on the subject that the law “defines marriage as the legal union of a man and a woman”. This law makes North Carolina the last state in the southern region of the United States to ban gay marriage, making it also the 29th in the country. This is comparable to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. This is an example of how the United States have made negative law changes.
Despite all of the hate and discrimination that is targeted toward this group, there are some resources that are aimed to helped to them. One of which is the Trevor Project. Accoriding to their website, the Trevor Project is “the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth” ("Preventing Suicide among LGBTQ Youth”).The website provides a twenty four hour, seven day a week helpline for anyone who needs it, along with a chat space and a social networking area. This gives LGBTQ youth a place to go when they feel alone. While there are a few more, the Trevor Project is the most popular and seems to be the most helpful.
Other things that give hope to LGBTQ/Q people are some celebrities and musicians who are supportive of the LGBTQ community. The “It Get’s Better” project started out as a video project by two men who wanted to tell todays LGBTQ youth that “it does get better.” That one video turned into over 30,000 user-created videos (Savage). Some of the celebrities and artists involved with It Gets Better are Daniel Radcliffe, Anne Hathaway, President Obama, Darren Criss, Chris Colfer, Mathew Morrisen, and many more. And there are other musicians who write songs that support the LGBTQ community. One artist, Milwaulkee native Ari Herstand, wrote a song about equality in love called “Do Ask Do Tell”. In the song, he says “On the news I hear people screaming/ In the streets the bigotry seethes/ Embracing hate spreading lies/ Defacing love it's unkind” (Herstand). He passively says how, although people who are homosexual are fighting for our country, they cannot truly express who they are and have to come home to another war that they fight every day of their lives. Since the song was realeased, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” Policy has been repealed. Many artists are on the side of LGBTQ/Q people, especially the youth.
The LGBTQ community is often targeted for hate and discrimination, but there are people who make it their mission to help them. With all the pain and hurt in the world for those in the LGBTQ community, it is a good thing to know tha there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Perhaps one day, the world will loose its discriminative ways and be able to accept people for who they are.
Adler, Max, perf. “On My Way.” Glee. Fox. WLUK, Green Bay, 21 Feb. 2012. Television.
DiBlasio, Natalie. “Crimes against LGBT Community Are Up, despite Social Gains.” Usatoday.com. USA Today, 1 Aug. 2011. Web. 26 Feb. 2012. <http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-07-31-LGBT-violence-lesbian-gay-transgender-bisexual-survey_n.htm>.
Herstand, Ari. “Do Ask Do Tell.” Clean Up EP. 2011. CD.
“Myth and Reality- Some Facts about GLBT People.” Trincoll.edu. Trinity Coll., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2012. <http://www.trincoll.edu/prog/safezone/Facts.htm>.
Paris, Bob. “Gay Pride Quotes.” Searchquotes.com. Search Quotes, 20 Feb. 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://www.searchquotes.com/search/Gay_Pride/2/>.
“Preventing Suicide among LGBTQ Youth.” Thetrevorproject.org. The Trevor Project, 2010. Web. 26 Feb. 2012. <http://www.thetrevorproject.org/>.
Savage, Dan, and Terry Miller, comps. “What Is the It Gets Better Project?” Itgetsbetter.org. Savage Love, 2012. Web. 26 Feb. 2012. <http://www.itgetsbetter.org/pages/about-it-gets-better-project/>.
Wilson, Michael, and Al Baker. “9 Accused of Torturing 3 in Bronx for Being Gay.” NYTimes.com. The New York Times, 9 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Feb. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/09/nyregion/09bias.html?pagewanted=all>.
Zucchino, David. "North Carolina Passes Ban on Gay Marriage." Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2012. Web. 20 May 2012.