LGBTQ people now have television representation of about 10%, in the U.S. we are allowed to marry, many states have some form of protection rights (many do not), and it would appear we even have a more tolerant climate, the truth is we are missing the forest because of all of the trees. This Administration is working to counter all the legislation that has been put into effect. We have seen a steady rise in violence against the LGBTQ community in the last three years. Legislation that is trying to be put into effect that will allow doctors to discriminate against its LGBTQ patients and allow business to deny service to people that do not fall into their religious dogma. The safety and progress we revel in are only skin deep, the soul that is this country, people, and world needs to change. A new way of thinking needs to evolve. Now is that time.
Bishop Amat Memorial High in Upland California had mandated that a lesbian student must meet with the school psychologist for being gay. She is not allowed to continue her relationship with her girlfriend and even has teachers following her around telling her she is going to hell. Going to school can be traumatic enough for kids that already deal with so much peer pressure and bullying, add in the fact that you are LGBTQ, it becomes a real nightmare. Magali Rodriguez said that the schools threatened to tell her mother if she did not follow the guidelines they had set forth. Rodriguez was pulled into the dean’s office with her girlfriend and was told they were no longer able to see one another. An article from LGBTQNation said “The dean said that they would no longer be allowed to sit next to each other at lunch and they couldn’t interact with each other during breaks. They would also have to regularly meet with the school psychologist and the dean, and teachers would keep an eye on them to make sure they followed the rules.” Rodriguez commented “We both walked out of that meeting just sobbing. We were really afraid on campus. We didn’t hold hands, we hardly hugged or anything.” This created an environment of fear where other queer kids started deciding not to come out. Finally, Rodriguez decided to come out to her parents in a letter asking for help. Her father quoted “that it sounded more like a suicide letter and a huge cry for help.” This is not an isolated event or even one solely tied to a Catholic school district. Children should be going to school to learn, not to fear being harassed by the very staff that is supposed to support them and guide them in their education.
Violence, bullying, intimidation, and hatred are easily pointed towards our youth, but we still see it with our young adults and adults. A North Carolina trans woman was singled out in a voter polling station and asked to hand over her ID because the workers felt her face did not match her name. North Carolina does not require its citizens to show ID to vote, but this station felt the need to single her out. According to an article, a trans woman who wishes to remain nameless, filled out the ballot form to be able to vote and then the Chief Judge came out and demanded her ID. When she asked why she needed to produce an ID when none was required, the judge responded, “For you, it’s a requirement.” Mecklenburg County’s Board of Elections Director Michael Dickerson said that she should not have been asked to produce an ID but the poll workers will not face any repercussions for asking for an ID. Dickerson feels that this is a better teaching moment scenario. This is but one small issue that transgender people have to face on a daily basis.
Three gay men were attacked outside of a D.C gay bar, The Number9, on Halloween night. One man was grabbed by an assailant and punched in the head and then slammed into a glass window and knocked unconscious. He was taken to the hospital where he needed stitched for the wound on his head. Timothy Luke, who was later identified as one of the victims, said, “Many homosexual and derogatory slurs were stated during this attack; however, I am unable to firmly state whether this was a hate crime or just a heinous attack,” Luke wrote. Police have designated the attack “potentially being motivated by hate or bias.” Unfortunately, many of the crimes that are visited upon the LGBTQ community aren’t reported of if they are, are not classified as hate crimes. Police taking statements will dismiss it as a dispute or a normal assault. In this instance, the attack was caught on tape and the police have distributed the video in hopes of catching the perpetrators.
While the atrocities here in our own country are bad enough, many places offer no protection status at all for its citizens. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, five men were sentenced to jail time, fines and caning after they allegedly attempted to have sex behind closed doors in an apartment. Malaysia is an Islamic state that has no protection for LGBTQ people, in fact they believe there are not LGBTQ people in their country. Four of the five men were handed a six months jail sentence, six caning strokes, and a fine of $1,164 a piece, the final man was handed a seven-month jail sentence, six cane strokes, and a fine of $1,188. In 2013, the Malaysian government funded a touring musical called, Abnormal Desire, to teach young people about the dangers of being queer. This propaganda shows queer people as being drug users, in a gang, party going, and promiscuous people who were struck dead by lighting for not listening to the Muslim neighbors who were trying to save them.
We must be mindful of how far we still have to go and how many of us are affected be the dangers still out there. We cannot become complacent in the struggles for our very civil rights. It doesn’t end at just our country, but every country. It is time we lay aside our petty differences, stop our own hatred and malice towards our fellow LGBTQ people and rise up to rekindle the fires of activism. We cannot accept the scraps that are being thrown to us while those of a certain status continue to live off of our struggle.