LGBTQ+ Rights: 2009 Vs. 2019

LGBTQ+ Rights: 2009 Vs. 2019

We've come a long way, but there's a long way yet to go...

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It really is hard to comprehend just how much culture can change in ten years. In such a short amount of time (historically speaking), ideas can go from unthinkable to societal norms that are accepted without much hesitation. As someone who majors in history, it's so interesting to me to see the evolution of cultures and societies and to see just how dramatically things can change. For a normal person, ten years feels like an eternity, but to historians, it's barely the blink of an eye. One concept that has changed considerably over the past decade is LGBTQ+ rights. Looking back, it's hard to imagine just how restrictive the United States used to be for these groups just ten short years ago.

*Disclaimer: I am not LGBT just because I support LGBT rights. You can support animal rights without being a damn giraffe. Moving on...

Let's start with marriage equality. At the beginning of 2009, only two states issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This number would gradually increase until the number of states that allowed same-sex marriages outnumbered those that didn't. The nail in this homophobic coffin came in 2015 with the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was protected by the fourteenth amendment, making same-sex marriage legal in all fifty states.

There has also been a lot of progress in the protection of LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination. In 2009, fourteen states and the District of Columbia had laws that prohibited workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In the last ten years, eight more states have passed similar laws. Unfortunately, this is not enough; the majority of states in the country still allow discrimination of this type. The Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, passed in Indiana in 2015 by then-governor Mike Pence, effectively wrote discrimination into the law rather than leaving it as an unwritten rule. More work is sorely needed on this front.

There was also no federal hate crime legislation for acts against LGBTQ+ people in 2009. However, this was changed in October of the same year with the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, named for two individuals who were murdered in 1998. The law expanded the definition of a hate crime to include crimes motivated by gender identity, sexual orientation and disability.

Additionally, conversion therapy was legal in all fifty states in 2009. This unscientific religious therapy was meant to change the sexual orientation of those who took part in it, voluntarily or otherwise. In recent years, many allegations of criminal treatment of these "patients" have drawn national attention. As of January 2019, 14 states and D.C. limit or outlaw gay conversion therapy. However, this means that 46 states still allow it. While some religious organizations stand by the therapy, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it works. However, there is evidence that the therapy can have negative effects on those who take part in it.

Finally, HIV has become much less stigmatized in the United States over the last decade. Medical advances in treatment are a partial cause; protease inhibitors can stop the HIV virus from replicating within your body, leaving the disease dormant and harmless. Along with better sexual education, this has contributed to a 66% decrease in HIV/AIDS deaths since the peak of the epidemic in 1995. Along with this, there was a complete ban on those with HIV entering the country until 2010. I was completely ignorant of this fact before doing research for this article, and it struck me just how much the perception of HIV has changed in recent years.

While these are milestones that should be celebrated, as a country we still have a long way to go. The majority of states still allow workplace discrimination and conversion therapy, and homophobic and transphobic rhetoric is still prevalent, even from the White House itself...especially from the White House itself. We've come a long way, but we can't afford to get complacent. Equality is an attainable goal, a goal that is closer to a reality than ever before, and the last ten years have shown us that it is more than possible to achieve this goal.

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Whether You Like It Or Not, Folks, There Are Only 2 Genders

You're either a male or female, and that's all there is to it.
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Regardless of what your opinion is... there are truly only TWO genders. Male and female, and that's how it has always been. Gender is not any different than sex, and in agreeance with Ben Shapiro "I'm not going to modify basic biology because it threatens your subjunctive sense of what you think you are." Gender is the state of being male or female, and there is no other option.

You are born as a male or as a female and there is no other option. There is no third, fourth, or fifth gender. It does not exist. You shouldn't be able to identify as whatever you please. The set of chromosomes that you are born with, either XX or XY is what dictates your gender. Your gender is determined far before the development of the fetus begins, and that's all there is to it.

With that being said, you cannot wake up one day and decide that you want to be a fish, can you? You cannot decide that you are going to grow scales, breathe underwater, and live as a fish for the rest of your life, can you? Could you legally register yourself as a fish? No, you can not do that. You also can't randomly decide that you want to be 21. You aren't allowed to wake up and say I feel 21 today if your real age is 18, and then go buy alcohol. It should be the same exact way with "gender reassignment."

Gender Dysphoria (which used to be called gender identity disorder, but is now an offensive term) directly correlates with depression and anxiety, which are both mental disorders. Although the two of those are mental disorders, we as a society are not allowed to call Gender Dysphoria a mental disorder. Follow this carefully: according to Daniel Payne, the transgender suicide rate is 40%. A massive part of the population says that this is because of the discrimination against transgenders. You cannot attribute the transgender suicide rate to discrimination because if that was the case, the suicide rate for blacks would be higher than it is due to the amount of discrimination they face. The black suicide rate is lower than the white suicide rate, and that alone destroys Gender Dysphoria not being a mental disorder... this is a prime example of society ignoring facts and the truth while conforming to the trans-society.

While reading on planedparenthood.org I learned about the names transgender people want to be called and do not want to be called. Some of the terms they want to be called or associated with are a crossdresser, drag king, drag queen, gender dysphoria, gender fluidity, non-binary, genderqueer, intersex, trans, a transgender man, a transgender woman, Ze, Zie, Xe, and (singular) they.

There are also multiple terms that are now considered "offensive" or "outdated," because it's 2017. Some of those terms are gender identity disorder, hermaphrodite, sex change operation, shemale, tranny, and transsexual.

This never affected me in any way, until people started getting upset about what I was calling them (when they clearly look like a male or female but aren't.) This never had an impact on me until a man dressed as a woman who claimed to be transgender went into a woman's bathroom and allegedly sexually assaulted a little girl. This never bothered me until a group of people challenged my freedom of speech, and said that they MUST be referred to as one of the "acceptable" terms. I will not redefine our terms just to please someone who feels like the opposite of what they biologically are.

As Ben Shapiro says, "It's not a matter of being open-minded and accepting..." It's about the truth, and not defying it or sugarcoating it so that a group of men and women can feel more comfortable. We as a society cannot crumble and conform to people trying to change their biological properties because that is when it starts to affect others outside of the trans-society.

Cover Image Credit: Macey Mullins

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Ariana Grande Can Perform At Manchester Pride, But She Shouldn't Be The Headliner

Manchester Pride is capitalizing on Ariana Grande's name and, in effect, exploiting the LGBT+ community for money.

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Recently, Ariana Grande was announced as the headlining act at this year's Manchester Pride. While Grande was excited to share the news, many members of the LGBT+ community did not agree with the decision. Further outrage resulted from the ticket pricing rising to £71 (~$93.56) for a weekend pass, which cost £30 (~$39.53) last year. Among the backlash, Grande was accused of exploiting the LGBT+ community. Grande has since responded to the backlash.

I don't think Ariana Grande is completely at fault here. The responsibility definitely lies on the coordinators of Manchester Pride who made the decision to place Ariana Grande as the headlining act and raise the ticket prices, but it's certainly no coincidence that ticket prices rose by over twice their previous amount with Grande being announced as the headliner. I think even she can at least acknowledge that her appearance at Pride, especially as the headliner, did have an impact on these prices. And while Ariana herself is not necessarily aiming to exploit the LGBT+ community, it certainly looks like Manchester Pride is doing just that.

Pride is meant to be a celebration of the LGBT+ community. Manchester Pride's actions don't align with the original intent of Pride. It seems that they only seek to make money from a popular performer like Ariana Grande. Grande headlining the event is bound to attract her large fanbase, many of whom may show up just to see her rather than attending the event to support the LGBT+ community — some of them may not even care about the LGBT+ community at all. Pride isn't meant to be just another concert; it is a place for the LGBT+ community to celebrate themselves in a way that they may not have been able to in the past and for allies to celebrate with them and show support for the community. It shouldn't be turned into an event that is purely for profit, nor should it be treated like another music festival.

The ticket prices are especially telling of Manchester Pride's exploitation of the LGBT+ community. An event like Pride shouldn't be one that is expensive, and its purpose is not to make money. Pride is an exciting event for the LGBT+ community and is supposed to be all-inclusive, but raising the ticket prices makes it much less accessible. It's certainly disappointing for those who may not be able to afford the full price, especially seeing how much cheaper tickets have been in the past. Manchester Pride is capitalizing on Ariana Grande's name and, in effect, exploiting the LGBT+ community for money.

This is not to say that Ariana Grande shouldn't perform at Pride. Pride has hosted many performers who are allies, and Grande's music has been very popular in the LGBT+ community. I'm sure many members of the community would be excited to see her. However, she doesn't have to be the headlining act to perform. Putting Grande's name at the forefront attracts more people who may not care about what Pride stands for, and it is also clearly an advertising strategy by Manchester Pride to make more money.

It would be much more appropriate to have an LGBT+ performer headline an event that is geared towards the LGBT+ community, not to mention Pride, of all places, should be supporting LGBT+ artists. While I don't believe Ariana Grande should pull out of performing at Pride entirely, I don't think that having her headline was the right decision by Manchester Pride.

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