New Anti-LGBTQ Legislature Proves America's Hypocrisy

New Anti-LGBTQ Legislature Proves America's Hypocrisy

Love is love. And the state of Georgia needs to realize this.
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Whether it be the busy bustling streets of Atlanta, the joy of the Coca-Cola Museum, or seeing the terrain displayed during the hit show The Walking Dead, Georgia has forever held a special place in my heart. During the past few decades, many television and movies have decided to film their work in Georgia. Atlanta, specifically has turned into a massive hub for the entertainment industry. When it was decided that I was going to be majoring in Mass Communications and Journalism, the subject of moving to Atlanta to further pursue my career came up again and again.

Growing up, Atlanta sort of felt like a symbol of freedom and liberalism. Cities like San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles have always been a goal for me. I have always held them to be the epitome of success and liberation. The cities never sleep, their streets forever bustling with the minds of youthful individuals who are full of dreams and spirit. Los Angeles, though it has forever been a dream of mine, a longing thought I have held within myself practically since I was born, however, the city of Atlanta always seemed a bit more practical.

Being born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, I was always only about two hours away from Atlanta. In a way, Georgia was always sort of a home away from home. Every time as I went through Georgia I was reminded of all the memories that this state held. Whether it be day trips to Six Flags, an adventure to the Atlanta Aquarium, or a venture into the Amazing World of Coca-Cola, it was evident to me that this state was a place I could see myself claiming as my own. The news that I read this past weekend was one that shocked me. It forever changed the way I view this state and the dreams I hold for myself in the future.

Recently, Georgia has passed legislation to discriminate against LGBT couples. The adoption process for same-sex couples can already be an exceedingly difficult one and the legislation passed by Georgia Senate has now made it a thousand times harder. Georgia was one of the few states who still did not have same-sex marriage legalized when marriage equality was granted nationwide under the Obama administration. Many of the states who refused to recognize these couples were located in the south.

Our very own Roy Moore made the announcement that even though we were a part of the fifty states in the US, Alabama would not be recognizing same-sex couples. I watched in horror as I expected him to be chosen as our next Senator. For me, the choice that we made as a state to put Doug Jones in our seat of Senate as opposed to Roy Moore who had been removed from his seat twice, not to mention his rape and pedophile allegations, was certainly a step in the right direction for the people of Alabama as well as the south as a whole.

The world was watching when Doug Jones was nominated. When this event occured, I can not describe the hope that was restored within me. I felt we might be taken seriously for once. Maybe the south would no longer be viewed as the gun toting, tobacco chewing, far right wing rednecks that we are so often labeled to me. I hate this label, this small corner we are often shoved into by the rest of the world.

However, as much as I hate it, legislature such as the one passed by Georgia only furthers such narratives. If we ever want to escape the labels of homophobia, racism, and misogyny that have been put upon us, we must fight with all we have against this sort of legislature. Queer people and the LGBTQ community are not going anywhere no matter how hard our government tries to plot against us.

All eyes are on Georgia now, seeing if they decide to take steps back in history. We have advanced so much in the past few years. Just in these past few weeks the world watched as our nation was represented by people like Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy who proudly represented more than just our country. They were skiing and skating for the LGBTQ community and every nation in the world saw that.

To come into a competition as grave as the Olympics preaching for love and tolerance then pass legislature that spits in the face in the face of equality, pins the label of hypocrisy on our nation. We claim to stand by our minorities on award shows, Olympic events, and a variety of public platforms, but then allow our country to pass discriminatory legislation against its weakest people. In this day and age, attacks are being made of LGBTQ individuals time after time after time. This legislature should be seen as nothing less than that, an attack on an American minority and a discriminatory legislation against loving couples who want to start a family and help foster a child. Children need families and one thing that can be stated as a fact is that family is not a one size fits all issue.

My own is perhaps untraditional, a loud fat Italian family who adopted a child of their own. My eldest brother, who was adopted at five years old held no care if he had a mother, father, and a traditional home. What he wanted was to be taken out of the orphanage and placed into a home that loved him. He got nothing short of that. Although my own family is what society deems “traditional” in some ways, we are a mostly right-wing Christian family who attended church every Sunday and often took great pride in living in the “Bible Belt,” I can say with great assurance that my older brother would have given no care either way. He wanted a place to live and people to love. That kind of comfort does not know any tradition, gender, or religion.

That kind of comfort simply comes from a unit of people who hold love within them.

My brother did not object to the loud, outrageous Italian family who he grew to call his own, nor would he have objected to two loving mothers or fathers who took him in either. Love is love. Family is family. These are both three words I can say as facts. It’s time for Georgia as well as many other states who seem to be stuck in the past to realize this. You’re better than this, Georgia, really and truly you are. The state I knew was full of love and laughter, not legislation of bigotry.

Do better.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists

I believe that I am a strong woman, but I also believe in a strong man.
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Beliefs are beliefs, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm all about girl power, but in today's world, it's getting shoved down our throats. Relax feminists, we're OK.

My inspiration actually came from a man (God forbid, a man has ideas these days). One afternoon my boyfriend was telling me about a discussion his class had regarding female sports and how TV stations air fewer female competitions than that of males. In a room where he and his other male classmate were completely outnumbered, he didn't have much say in the discussion.

Apparently, it was getting pretty heated in the room, and the women in the class were going on and on about how society is unfair to women in this aspect and that respect for the female population is shrinking relative to the male population.

If we're being frank here, it's a load of bull.

SEE ALSO: To The Women Who Hate Feminism

First of all, this is the 21st century. Women have never been more respected. Women have more rights in the United States than ever before. As far as sports go, TV stations are going to air the sports that get the most ratings. On a realistic level, how many women are turning on Sports Center in the middle of the day? Not enough for TV stations to make money. It's a business, not a boycott against female athletics.

Whatever happened to chivalry? Why is it so “old fashioned" to allow a man to do the dirty work or pay for meals? Feminists claim that this is a sign of disrespect, yet when a man offers to pick up the check or help fix a flat tire (aka being a gentleman), they become offended. It seems like a bit of a double standard to me. There is a distinct divide between both the mental and physical makeup of a male and female body. There is a reason for this. We are not equals. The male is made of more muscle mass, and the woman has a more efficient brain (I mean, I think that's pretty freaking awesome).

The male body is meant to endure more physical while the female is more delicate. So, quite frankly, at a certain point in life, there need to be restrictions on integrating the two. For example, during that same class discussion that I mentioned before, one of the young ladies in the room complained about how the NFL doesn't have female athletes. I mean, really? Can you imagine being tackled by a 220-pound linebacker? Of course not. Our bodies are different. It's not “inequality," it's just science.

And while I can understand the concern in regard to money and women making statistically less than men do, let's consider some historical facts. If we think about it, women branching out into the workforce is still relatively new in terms of history. Up until about the '80s or so, many women didn't work as much as they do now (no disrespect to the women that did work to provide for themselves and their families — you go ladies!). We are still climbing the charts in 2016.

Though there is still considered to be a glass ceiling for the working female, it's being shattered by the perseverance and strong mentality of women everywhere. So, let's stop blaming men and society for how we continue to “struggle" and praise the female gender for working hard to make a mark in today's workforce. We're doing a kick-ass job, let's stop the complaining.

I consider myself to be a very strong and independent female. But that doesn't mean that I feel the need to put down the opposite gender for every problem I endure. Not everything is a man's fault. Let's be realistic ladies, just as much as they are boneheads from time to time, we have the tendency to be a real pain in the tush.

It's a lot of give and take. We don't have to pretend we don't need our men every once in a while. It's OK to be vulnerable. Men and women are meant to complement one another — not to be equal or to over-power. The genders are meant to balance each other out. There's nothing wrong with it.

I am all for being a proud woman and having confidence in what I say and do. I believe in myself as a powerful female and human being. However, I don't believe that being a female entitles me to put down men and claim to be the “dominant" gender. There is no “dominant" gender. There's just men and women. Women and men. We coincide with each other, that's that.

Time to embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: chrisjohnbeckett / Flickr

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Past Legal And Modern Social Apartheid

An opinion piece on past legal Apartheid in South Africa and how it is socially reflected in the United States.

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When stepping inside of a solitary cell at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg, I felt a tightness in my chest and wanted to leave that small space immediately; imagining a Black South African who broke the pass laws during Apartheid being in there is beyond disturbing. Due to laws such as the Native (Urban) Areas Act No 21 of 1923, the Bantu/Native Building Workers Act of 1951, and the Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970, Black South Africans during Apartheid were extremely limited in where they could live, detrimentally affecting their economic and employment opportunities. When touring the former Constitutional Hill prison, the guide told us that, when Black South Africans were caught without passes permitting their stay in Joburg for the day and/or night, they spent 5 days in prison, along with murderers and others who committed serious crimes. If caught multiple times breaking these pass laws, they would spend 5 years in this prison. Most of those who violated these pass laws were unemployed or sought better employment in Joburg; this is understandable, as a person has a better chance of having a job by being there physically. When thinking further about the lack of opportunity they suffered from due to the aforementioned laws creating this effect, this legal repercussion becomes further and further disturbing. Additionally, this also directly led to the creation of "White" and "Black" areas, where Whites lived in areas of better opportunity (ex. cities, suburbia), and Blacks were subjected to living in poverty and townships where there was limited economic and employment opportunities.

This lack of opportunity is echoed in the U.S. when looking at socially designated "White" and "Black" areas. Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman essentially because he thought Martin "was not where he belonged", which was in a nice suburban area. As a person of color myself, I have been stared at in museums, followed in stores, and once at 12 years old kicked out of a shop (I did not do anything wrong), because I "stuck out". In this way, society told me (and violently told Martin) that we don't belong in those areas, that we "belong" in ghettos or prison; the racial demographics of populations in U.S. prisons will support me here. Therefore, by society socially designating where people "belong", not only do they bind themselves in their own ignorance, but also prevent people of color from sharing the same access to plentiful life and economic opportunity.

References

Native (Urban) Areas Act No 21 of 1923: Prevented Black South Africans from leaving designated area without a pass. The ruling National Party saw this as keeping Whites "safe" while using Blacks for cheap labor.

Bantu/Native Building Workers Act of 1951: Allowed Black South Africans to enter the building industry as artisans and laborers. Restricted to "Native" areas. Prevented competition between Whites, Coloureds, and Blacks. Could not work outside a designated area unless given special permission.

Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970: All Black South Africans would lose their South African citizenship/nationality over time. Would not be able to work in "South Africa" due to being aliens. Black South Africans would have to work inside their own areas and could only work in urban areas if they had special permission from the Minister.


South African History Online. "Apartheid Legislation 1850s-1970s." South African History Online, South African History Online, 11 Apr. 2016, www.sahistory.org.za/article/apartheid-legislation....

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