Our society is becoming more diverse than ever as people feel more relaxed and open to showing their true colors and no longer hiding their sexuality in the closet. Despite still being frowned upon in some societies, you can hear more gay and lesbian relationships out in the open now than it was a decade ago. Some are into cross-dressing while others prefer to be more discreet.
Gays also give life to parties and conversation with their lively personalities. But what is it really like to live in one of the most progressive countries in the world? Gay pride is popular in America but there are still many incidences of gay abuse and crimes where the LGBT community are picked on, ridiculed, or even killed because they are considered as sexual deviants by many conservative citizens in the country.
A local chapter of a national LGBTQ support organization will be hosting a screening of the National Geographic documentary “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric” at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 21, in an effort to help educate the local community about issues related to gender identity and the LGBTQ community.
The documentary, which was made in conjunction with an entire issue of National Geographic magazine dedicated to LGBTQ and gender issues, examines the “rapidly evolving complexities of gender identity,” said Chad Farner, an Oskaloosa Middle School teacher and a president and co-founder of the PFLAG Oskaloosa chapter.
Raising awareness can make a big difference on how the population at large understands the life of the LGBT community and be more tolerant of them as members of the community.
“There is certainly a need to advocate and educate about LGBTQ issues,” Farner said of the film showing and discussion. “[Gender identity] is not as black and white as people may think. The idea is to educate the public on gender identity and the different facets.”
Farner said PFLAG has a goal of advocating for equal rights for all Iowans, especially those who identify as LGBTQ. The local Oskaloosa chapter has a mailing list with more than 50 people, and meets monthly. Farner said there are several students in the Oskaloosa Community School District that are “exploring their gender” and the organization strives to help them in any way possible.
“We’ve had a least one transgender student reach out at the high school, and there are several at the middle school.” Farner said. “There is support among the other students and the district seems to be handling [the issue] well. It feels good.”
All over the country, LGBT support groups take initiatives to fight for their rights and make their voices be heard in the nation’s capital.
Brinton started #50Bills50States, a campaign to eliminate conversion therapy in all 50 states. Brinton went through conversion therapy, later graduated MIT and went on to become a nuclear physicist. Brinton also is on the board for the Born Perfect campaign as a part of the National Coalition for Lesbian Rights. So far, five states have banned conversion therapy for those who are under 18, and another 22 have submitted legislation this year. The ban means that licensed therapists would have their licenses removed for performing conversion therapy.
Brinton said the suicide rate for LGBT people, already higher when compared to the straight and cisgender population, is astronomically high for those who have survived conversion therapy. Brinton said survivors may need mental health support but don’t seek it because conversion therapy caused the mental health crisis in the first place.
It seems as if that despite the openness towards gays/ lesbians we see in the mainstream media, it does not really or rarely happens in real life all the time and many members of the LGBT community still struggle to be accepted by the people around them. They even struggle to get fair and just treatment from leaders of the country who tramples on their rights and even manage to get away with it.
The US Senate should “interrogate” President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, several of the country’s top LGBT groups said on Thursday, warning that Judge Neil Gorsuch’s track record raises concerns he opposes same-sex marriage and transgender rights.
In a letter to leading members of the Senate Judiciary Committee obtained by BuzzFeed News, 19 organizations worried Gorsuch may stymie attempts to expand legal protections, saying, “We have concluded that his views on civil rights issues are fundamentally at odds with the notion that LGBT people are entitled to equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law.”
Gorsuch would serve on the Supreme Court as several LGBT cases percolate in the federal judiciary, including those asking whether transgender students and workers are protected under existing law, and if corporations are free to act based on their opposition to same-sex marriage.
There is a lot of work involved before the LGBT community can finally be viewed as normal members of society where people will no longer judge them because of their gender identity or sexual preference. It is not a lost cause for them, though, as the public gradually becomes less condescending to them and start to see them as human beings too. It is a different case, though, when it comes to biased government officials whose policies are affected by their own personal biases.