One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: The Endless LGBTQ Struggle

One year after the legalization of same-sex marriage

This Matters | Elisia Cintron | April 14, 2016

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In three months, it will be one year since the LGBTQ community won a great battle with the U.S. government.  On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denounced the ban on gay marriage, making it legal to marry in all 50 states. Many people reacted positively to this news, especially by changing their Facebook profile pictures with a rainbow overlay to show support. For others, it meant being able to marry their partners after waiting for many years. While this lawful change was a huge victory and has caused much progress for the LGBTQ community, there are still a lot of obstacles people have to face, including discrimination from state governments.

Recently, some states have passed “anti-gay” bills, including:

  • Mississippi, whose Governor signed a legislation for “religious charities and privately held businesses to decline services to people if doing so would violate their religious beliefs on marriage and gender.”.
  • Tennessee, whose legislators passed a bill that “allows therapists and counselors to reject patients they feel would violate “sincerely held principles.”
  • And North Carolina, who passed a law “banning anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and requiring transgender people in government buildings and publics to use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.”

As soon as these laws were passed, they were met with immediate backlash. Musicians like Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr cancelled their shows in protest, and companies like PayPal and Toyota publicly displayed their objections to these new laws. Others took to social media to express their disgust and once again show support to the LGBTQ community. People also protested in their states, like in Mississippi, where crowds gathered outside the governor’s mansion.

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Why You Should Care:

This current generation has developed a more compassionate (or at least a more tolerant) view towards the LGBTQ community. Activists and other supporters have spread awareness on the effects of discrimination on these people, from suffering from mental and physical abuse to committing suicide. This community still goes through a lot of discrimination on a daily basis, both in the workforce and schools. Passing these discriminatory laws is a sign of going against the progression of this country for equality. Though the LGBTQ people won a battle a year ago, they are still fighting for the everyday rights that their counterparts have, as little as going to their preferred bathrooms in public areas. It’s a fight that might seem little to some but means a lot to others who feel like their lives are being devalued. In an era of rapid modernization, it is shocking to hear that people are still judging others for having different lifestyles. Stand by any LGBTQ people you may know and show your support, because together you can defeat these laws and weaken any opposition towards equality. And from my favorite LGBTQ supporter Lady Gaga, a reminder to anyone in the LGBTQ community facing discrimination: “baby, you were born this way.”