Dear Future President,
Congratulations on earning the inauguration. You must be very excited to have the presidency of the United States for the next four years. I have a suggestion for you that, if employed, will better our country.
Our country has never been perfect. We’ve always had problems in social class, government, education, welfare, and medical care systems, to name a few. Older problems, such as slavery or transportation issues, have morphed into more modern problems, such as technology or nuclear war. One age-old issue is discrimination of all kinds. There’s sexism, racism, and fascism, to name a few. Even single mothers or minimum wage workers face discrimination — other issues that also matter a lot. But the issue I’ll be addressing here is discrimination and ignorance of the LGBT+ community.
Gay rights have been a controversial topic for thousands of years, dating back to Roman laws banning most sexual relations concerning gays and ancient Greeks having general restrictions on “same-sex love.” On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that all states may no longer ban same-sex marriage. This was a big step forward, and a great victory for the LGBT+ community as a whole. Just over a year later, however, this age-old problem has gotten worse.
There is no real way to change a person’s thoughts and/or opinions. You can't fish inside a person's brain and extract a belief of theirs. What we can change is the way the person speaks to negatively affect others (i.e., spreading hate, bullying, abuse, subliminal messaging). We can change how others hearing one’s comments react. We can protect these fellow humans rather than shutting them out.
LGBT youth are twice as likely as their peers to be physically assaulted at school. 3 out of 4 transgender teens feel unsafe at school. About a third of LGBT youth speak of physical violence from their own parents because of their sexual orientation. The rate of suicide attempts is 4 times greater for LGBT kids. Think of all of these children and teenagers that don’t trust their school environment for something that should not be a trouble. On average, an LGBT high school student will hear 26 anti-LGBT slurs a day — one third of which come from a school staff member. This means many teachers — the educators and role models of 50.4 million US students — are likely to spout anti-LGBT slurs.
These could all be just numbers on paper or computer screen, or empty statistics without meaning. But they all do represent many unsafe-feeling children that are being harassed because of something that shouldn’t be a problem — a person’s sexuality or sexual orientation.
I propose a better education, one that spreads knowledge of LGBT+ history and community. The education could incorporate LGBT+ history in history class. The long and interesting history of LGBT+ society isn't widely known or taught, but it should be if we want to erase this particular strain of US ignorance. We could even have a more inclusive sex education, where we could be taught about how sex or a relationship is not always between a male and female. Any spreading of knowledge and the general statement of, “Hey, there are people like this, and they are people just like us,” would help spread acceptance.
I also have a message to you, the new President. Prioritizing LGBT+ education and acceptance will be a great step forward for the US. If you make education and acceptance of LGBT+ folk widespread, then others in positions of authority would almost certainly begin to agree. Can you imagine how nice it would feel to have the President of my country lend support to my community? I hope you take my idea into consideration.