Since the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, the LGBTQIA+ community has received a lot of attention, which it rightfully deserves. These individuals have fought hard to have the basic human rights that they have finally been granted. This community may go against the grain of the "accepted, societal normative", but at the end of the day, they are still human beings; they still deserve their rights.
This fight for human rights has produced what many know as "Pride Month". Every year, streets are completely closed off to celebrate the progression of our country and victory of LGBTQIA+ people who have fought endlessly to be allowed to love who they want, to love who they are, to love how they want -- when you take away the ending of each of those phrases, these people are fighting to love.
This year, however, pride month has essentially been canceled due to COVID-19. Sadly, this may be the first of many canceled pride months. This fight, this struggle for love and rights, has morphed into a threat against many people, including our current standing President. With the distraction of the Coronavirus, President Trump has been working to overturn previous legal protection set in place by Obama against transgender discrimination in healthcare. In addition to this recession for the LGBTQIA+ community, Trump has also enacted a rule that reduces the opportunity for LGBTQIA+ couples to adopt. The entire fight for this community's basic rights is being completely undone, and of all times, it's happening during the month meant to celebrate their victory.
This struggle, this fight for basic human rights, has sadly morphed into a threat against several groups, predominantly those of religious affiliation and international stature. Although there is a psychology that suggests this lifestyle is not a choice, it offends the religious standard, and it is illegal/punishable in 61 different countries. While it is not necessary to accept or even support this community, it is beyond pertinent to be kind. These two groups have historically transgressed the LGBTQIA+ community more than anyone else; they have spread a lot of futile hostility to the community. It is paramount that we are nice to those around us regardless of our personal morals and values. We can disagree respectfully, but our country is still learning that.
Without learning this lesson, there are painful possibilities. When a young man comes home from high school with bruises on his face, there is a problem. When a bunch of guys bully and belittle the boy who's asexual for not liking sex, there is a problem. When girls have to hide their love as "best friends", there is a problem. These are already problems, and America is doing nothing about it.
In the short film, Love Is All You Need?, K. Rocco Shields reverses the roles, making heterosexuality the minority. Ashley addresses how she is "not like other people" because she likes the opposite gender, and the name-calling, brutal middle-school bullying begins. The heterosexual lifestyle is "perverted". As the film goes on, the hatred and heterophobia intensify so much because you "can't be nice to heteros". Ashley harms herself significantly in an attempt to take her own life. Sadly, art imitates life, and this is a real depiction of what is happening today. In fact, Newport Academy reports that LGBT teens are 3.5% more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youths. Statistics from The Trevor Project show that 1 out of every 6 LGBT youth seriously consider suicide. When will America learn its lesson?
To the religious people: not everyone follows your beliefs, but you would not want them to be rude to you for your personal faith. You would not want them to assert their higher power on you when you are already confident in what you believe. But, you can maturely have different views.
To the international people: you don't want them to hate on you simply because you vary from their "norm". How is this any different than that?
When you truly break it down, it's like this:
Today is someone's birthday, but you don't like that person. In fact, you and so-and-so are in completely different social groups and have nothing in common, and they can get on your nerves sometimes. Maybe you don't exactly like it when they speak up in class. But, today is their birthday, and even though you don't like them, you're not going to go out of your way to ruin their day. Odds are you still want them to have a good birthday even though you're not their friend. Our society has a responsibility to treat the LGBTQIA+ community similarly.
Ultimately, be kind.
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