Home News The Rights of the LGBT+ Community In the United States of America

The Rights of the LGBT+ Community In the United States of America


By: Lillian Holmes

Author Note: This article is by no means to attack anyone or to make anyone feel outed. I am not a professional by any means and have only simply done research. If you feel that there is something that I have missed or have left out please contact me at lillianholmes4423@gmail.com or 900276456@tpseducation.org thank you. 

Rights are the legal, social, or ethical values of responsibility and respect for diversities.  Rights are the basic constructed rules on what, according to some legal systems, are allowed or issued to members of society. (Public Broadcasting Service) So why is it that  here, in the United States of America,  everyone is not treated equally as they should be? The members of the LGBT+ community would be able to justify this claim very easily due to the discirmamtion that they handle from citizens and the United States Government. 

The LGBT+ community has been fighting for their rights for centuries, and even to this day, they have people who want to fight against them. From having their rights handed to them, and taken from them, it is an ongoing cycle of tug of war. So how do we stop this and how do we help the community gain their rights? We stand by their side, and we do our research, we must vote and fight to make sure that they are treated equally. The LGBT+ community is a group of people who identify as something other than straight and cis. Meaning they are not heterosexuals (individuals who are attracted to the opposite sex) and they are cis-gendered (cisgender remain on the same side of the gender they were initially identified as at birth.) The LGBT+ community has been wronged throughout generations, from being arrested and killed for their “crimes’ ‘ to being beaten or assaulted in public, without the government’s help in stopping the violence. (Human Rights Commissioner’s Office) So what? Why do you need to  stand by the LGBT+ community and help with their rights? Because everyone in the community is human, and humans deserve basic human rights just as anyone else’s. Just because they are a “little different” or think outside of the box does not mean they deserve any less.

The Matter At Hand: 

Laws differ depending, but outside of jobs, most states lack protections against LGBT discrimination. Under the Equality Act, federal protections are proposed. In 2015 all 50 states were legally allowed to allow same-sex-marriage between same-sex couples in the United States. Though some argue, why did it have to become law anyway? It is everyone’s legal right to adopt or foster a child and marry whomever they wish, so why did there have to be a law to legalize this? Each one of the fifty states has separate marriage laws that must cooperate with United States Supreme Court rulings that recognize marriage as a basic right according to  Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as first defined in the 1967 civil rights case of Loving v. Virginia. The Defense of Marriage Act in the United States federal law allows all marriages between opposite-sex marriages. It also allows states to refuse or recognize same-sex marriages. Though in the late 1980s issues arose with Same-sex marriage refusal cases around the United States of America.  Found in section 3 for all same-sex couple marriages states can legally deny health coverage for government employees, benefits for social security survivors, immigration, bankruptcy, and joint tax return (Wikimedia Foundation Defense)

You may be asking, what even is the LGBT+ community? Well, it will be explained here as simply as possible. LGBT+ is an acronym for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and queers/people in questioning. Lesbians are typically female (cis or trans) attracted to fellow females (cis or trans). Gays are typically male (cis or trans) attracted to fellow males (cis or trans). Bisexuals are females or males (cis or trans) attracted to both females and males (cis or trans). Transgender individuals are people who are individuals who identify as the opposite gender that they were born as and identified as. (a cis man wanting to transfer legally and physically to a female and vise versa). There is also a group of people that identify as Nonbinary, those who do not feel as if they have to label themselves with a gender. They too should be respected as humans and treated like everyone else’s.  The LGBT+ community is a large community of people that belong within subcultures. The community is well known for celebrating pride, diversity, individuality and sexuality, and self-identity.

So what is the issue being addressed in this  paper? This paper is to bring light to the discrimination that is not addressed today against people in the LGBT+ community. The fight for equal rights for the LGBT+ community has been an issue for years, but as of recently, it has been brought to the center of attention for many debates today. In Congress, courtrooms, and the streets, the LGBT+ community is fighting for their civil rights. The group continues to face real inequality in all elements of society, despite the LGBT+ community despite only making up 3.5% of the population in America. Based on sexual preference and gender identity, no federal law prevents people from being fired or denied a job. The U.S. military has and is openly discriminating against the LGBT+ community.  and Parents even abandoned their children for solely being a part of the LGBT+ community. People are even denied the right to marry due to who they are. Colorado even attempted to single out the LGBT+ community out of the law-passing process. (Justice) Just in the year of 2020, more than 33% of LGBTQ+ Americans have suffered or witnssed some kind of harassment, including more than 60% transgender Americans. The mental and social health of many LGBTQ+ community Americans, including 50% who face various or major negative side effects, is significantly impacted by discrimination. (Gruberg et al.)

Have people always accepted or not accepted the LGBT+ community? Justice Anthony Kennedy deemed “We must conclude that Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else. This Colorado cannot do. A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws.” in New York City at a gay bar during a typical “raid,” took place where police officers attempted to arrest those who were in the gay bar, for simply being apart of the LGBT+ community. but the Stonewall Inn’s patrons fought back and the gay rights movement was launched. Using Strategies employed by the 20th-century actives gay rights advocates have reached significant progress. (Gruberg et al.) So in other words, people have not always accepted the LGBT+ community. They have been trying to attack and keep it on the down-low” for many years. Another law was finalized that now allows fewer discrimination rights for people in the LGBT+ community. This means that health professionals could deny a person in the LGBT+ community health care because of their gender identity or to whom they are sexually attracted. This new law will also prevent same-sex couples or transgender couples to be eligible for adoption. It will harm those families, as well as the many children waiting to be placed in loving and supportive homes. Human Rights Watch has also recorded how these types of reforms can act as a discriminatory license, locking out health and social programs that should be available to all LGBT people. Hundreds of children in the United States sit in foster care systems and orphanages due to it being so difficult for gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals to adopt them.

The LGBT+ community is made up of lots of different subcultures as we have already addressed. But while all subcultures, even allies go through struggles there is one in particular that gets quite a bit of backlash and that is the Transgender individuals. For ages, relying on obsolete and unfair medical criteria, transgender individuals have been prohibited from serving openly in the U.S. military. Thankfully The Pentagon ended the ban on trans individuals serving in the U.S. military in June 2016 after a year-long working group examining the “law and preparation effects,” agreeing that hiring and recruiting the best troops, regardless of their gender identity, were in the best interest of the military.

Steps in the Right Direction: 

So what is being done about all of the unfairness in the United States of America against the LGBT+ community? On January 25th, 2021 Presduebt Biden repealed the controversial Trump-era ban on transgender individuals serving in the United States Military. Which we know from above, prevented transgender individuals from joining and serving in the military. It also forced current citizens in the military that were transgender to work under the radar for their safety, though didn’t allow them to be discharged from the military because of this. Biden said to reporters after the signing of the order “qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform.” Later in the text of the order, Biden said “It is my conviction as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces that gender identity should not be a bar to military service. Moreover, there is substantial evidence that allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military does not have any meaningful negative impact on the Armed Forces.” Later in the day Lloyd Austin, a confirmed defense secretary, said “If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve, and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve”. While many Americans disagree with these statements, the ones who do support this is outstanding and outweigh those who think it is a mistake. This order immediately keeps members from being discharged or denied reenlistment for their gender identity. It also directs the Department of Defense to correct the record for anyone dismissed from service. It guides both the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of The Human Rights Campaign later announced that “For years, transgender patriots were forced to continue to hide their identity while serving in our military. But today … they may live and serve openly as themselves,” the group’s president, Alphonso David, said in a statement. “The greatest military in the world will again value readiness over bias, and qualifications over discrimination.” homeland Security begins the process of openly allowing transgender soldiers to serve. (Detrow)

On Top of the removal of the ban on the military more good news has arisen. data collected by Harvard psychologists Tessa Charlesworth and Mahzarin Banaji imply that even as American citizens are becoming more mindful of these “new terms” in many environments, especially when it comes to same-sex couples and gender non-conformists, we tend to be less biased. Attitudes toward sexuality, however, the single largest change occurred. Implicit attitudes saw a similar but smaller change, shifting by 33% towards indifference. A majority of Americans told voters as recently as 1979 that consenting relationships between gay and lesbian adults should be illegal. About a quarter felt same-sex marriage should be legal as late as 1996.Though sadly enough The concept that trans people could be safe in schools was quickly objected to by dominant individuals and organizations and the powerful lie that trans people are necessarily a danger to non-transgender women started to circulate again.Any state that considers anti-trans bills banning sports from trans people must now consider facing a U.S. government that does not endorse anti-trans discrimination but instead enforces Title IX provisions to stop it.  (Strangio)

So why should people who are not in the LGBT+ community stand behind and support them? Why Should we be allies if we do not identify as any of the subcultures? Allies can be a force for amplifying LGBT+ voices, and a support system for individuals in the community. To advance the cause of LGBT+ equality for those who are not LGBT+ themselves, the Allies have done an enormous amount. An ally will express support for LGBT+ colleagues, co-workers, peers, neighbors, co-congregants, family members, and others in a wide range of ways. LGBT+ individuals face discrimination day today in everyday situations. From at home, to the workplace, and more.  It is important to stand by their side to show them that they are not alone. Someone should not be fired from their job or evicted from their home just for whom they love or what they identify as. (Human Rights Campaign Transgender)

Outcomes: 

The conclusion of this paper is that there is an unclear justified group of “reasons” for people of the LGBT+ community to be dissgraimated against. This paper proves, or is another key factor in proving that America is not equal, and never will be. We claim to be a free country yet such a large group of us have a huge part of our basic human rights ripped from us. For decades, the LGBT+ community has fought for their rights, and even to this day, they have individuals who continue to fight against them. It is an ongoing period of tug of war by getting their rights handed to them, and stripped from them. We stand by their side, and we do our homework, and we have to vote and struggle to ensure that they are treated fairly. For decades, the LGBT+ community has been wronged, from being arrested and executed for their ‘crimes’ to being beaten or attacked In public, without the support of the government to stop the violence.

And so what? Why do you need the LGBT + community to stand by and help with their rights? Since everybody in the world is human, and just like anything else, human beings deserve basic human rights. It doesn’t mean they deserve any less just because they are a “little different” or think outside of the box. The Humans Rights Campaign is an amazing  organization that presents a future in which every member of the LGBTQ+ family is free to live their truth without fear of repercussions, and where everyone is treated equally under the law. They can help you research and understand both the good and the bad in the world and what you as an American citizen can do for those around you.

Lillian Holmes tells us about the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in America

Cited Work

Detrow, Scott. “Biden Repeals Trump-Era Ban On Transgender Troops.” NPR WGTE, NPR WGTE, 25 January 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/president-biden-takes-office/2021/01/25/960338217/biden-repeals-trump-era-ban-on-transgender-soldiers.  Accessed 19 February 2021.

Gruberg, Sharita, et al. “The State of the LGBTQ Community in 2020.” Center for American Progress, Center for American Progress, 6 October 2020, https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbtq-rights/reports/2020/10/06/491052/state-lgbtq-community-2020/. Accessed 19 February 2021.

Human Rights Campaign. “Transgender Military Service.” HRC (Human Rights Campaign), Human Rights Campaign), 2 March 2020, https://www.hrc.org/resources/transgender-military-service. Accessed 19 February 2021.

Human Rights Campaign. “A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide.” Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Campaign, https://www.hrc.org/resources/a-workplace-divided-understanding-the-climate-for-lgbtq-workers-nationwide. Accessed 19 February 2021.

Human Rights Commissioner’s Office. “Race.” Pages – Human Rights Terms and Definitions, Human Rights Commissioner’s Office, http://www.yrdsb.com/hrco/Pages/Human-Rights-Terms-and-Definitions.aspx  Accessed 19 February 2021.

Jilani, Zaid. “What the Struggle for Gay Rights Teaches Us about Bridging Differences.” Great Good Magazine (Science-Based Insights For A Meaningful Life), Great Good Magazine (Science-Based Insights For A Meaningful Life), 19 March 2019, https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_the_struggle_for_gay_rights_teaches_us_about_bridging_differences. Accessed 19 February 2021.

Justice, Kennedy. “The Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People.” American Civil Liberties Union, American Civil Liberties Union, https://www.aclu.org/other/rights-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-people. Accessed 19 February 2021.

Public Broadcasting Service. “The Constitution of the United States of America.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, https://www.pbs.org/ampu/constitution.html. Accessed 19 February 2021.

Strangio, Chase. “What President Biden’s LGBTQ Executive Order Does and Doesn’t Do.” ACLU, ACLU, 21 January 2021, https://www.aclu.org/news/lgbt-rights/what-president-bidens-lgbtq-executive-order-does-and-doesnt-do/. Accessed 19 February 2021.

Taylor, Danielle, and U.S. Census U.S. Census. “Fifteen Percent of Same-Sex Couples Have Children in Their Household.” The United States Census Bureau, The United States Census Bureau, 23 September 2020, https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/09/fifteen-percent-of-same-sex-couples-have-children-in-their-household.html#:~:text=in%20the%20couple.-,Same%2Dsex%20couples%20are%20four%20times%20more%20likely%20than%20opposite,adopted%20or%20stepchildren%20i. Accessed 19 February 2021.

Wikimedia Foundation. “Defense of Marriage Act.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 January 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_Marriage_Act. Accessed 19 February 2021.

Wikimedia Foundation. “LGBT rights in the United States.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 19 February 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_the_United_States. Accessed 19 February 2021. 

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