Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Dear Mr(s). President,
I am writing to you today to discuss a topic that is very important to me, personally, as well as nationally. Today, I want to talk about the rights and protection of LGBT(+) people. But before I continue, let me explain why this is so important to me. My name is Charlie, I’m 15 years old and I am transgender. I am a sophomore in High School and I came out to my friends and parents three and a half months ago. At school, I have experienced nothing but support from almost all of my teachers and the staff. However this doesn’t mean everything is perfect for me or any other trans kid at my school. Most of my friends have been very supportive but the general public doesn’t really understand. I am still referred to with the wrong name and pronouns and using the bathroom is very difficult and the amount of negative slurs I hear just walking from once class to another makes me so uncomfortable. I don’t want this to be the case anymore. Its 2016, people are becoming much more comfortable being themselves and coming out which is amazing. But with all of this newfound pride, the number of LGBT(+) people being bullied, harassed and even killed has risen tremendously. In the near future, I believe that laws need to be made to protect these people. Also, there needs to be more education available for and about the LGBT(+) community.
Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign conducted a survey directed towards kids ages 13-17 that were part of the LGBT community. According to the survey, LGBT students reported being harassed at school- physically and verbally- almost twice the rate of non-LGBT students. Additionally, four in ten LGBT youth (42%) said that the community in which they live is not accepting of LGBT people and 92% of LGBT youth say that hear and see negativity towards the LGBT community. The top sources of this negativity are the internet, school and their peers. This is not okay and it’s not fair to these students. Everyone should have a safe and comfortable place where they can be themselves and receive a proper education. In an article from the New York Times it states that since 2014, the rate of hate crimes against LGBT people has exceeded that of African Americans and Jewish people. Nearly a fifth of the over 5,000 hate crimes reported to the F.B.I in 2014 was because of the targets’ sexual orientation or perceived orientation. A more recent example would be the shooting at the LGBT nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine people died and 53 were seriously injured all because one man didn’t agree with how these people were living their lives’. People should not be dying or getting harassed for no reason other than someone not agreeing with their identity. Another thing that is much larger of a problem in the LGBT community than it is for others, is suicide. According to The Trevor Project, the rate of suicide attempts is 4 times greater for LGBT youth than it is for non-LGBT youth. The article also states that nearly half of young transgender people have thought about taking their own life and one quarter report having made an attempt.
There are some ways to help lessen the bullying in school and harassment in general. Creating more accessible education and resources for and about the LGBT community will help people understand it more and allow LGBT people to feel more comfortable in their everyday lives. One way to help educate people and have a safe space for LGBT (+) to meet other people like them and be able to openly be themselves, is to create a GSA (Gay-Straight-Alliance) in schools. As it says in the name, allies are welcome as well which benefits the LGBT (+) community because it helps increase the number of allies that can help and support the community.
Another big issue right now is bathrooms and which one a transgender person should be allowed to use. The thing is, it’s very difficult for trans people because using either bathroom could potentially be dangerous. Transgender people are just people, they are in the bathroom for the same reason as everyone else- to use the bathroom. Instead of making laws that require them to use a bathroom that they don’t feel comfortable in, there should be laws that allow them to use whatever bathroom they want. Or, creating gender neutral restrooms in schools, businesses, etc. to accommodate to the needs of transgender people who feel uncomfortable using binary (men and women) restrooms. By letting transgender people use whatever bathroom they are comfortable with, we are proving that trans people deserve the same rights as anyone else.
This is a very serious issue that needs to be taken very seriously. I know that not everybody is accepting and okay with LGBT (+) but that doesn’t mean the people in the community should be treated as unequal to everyone else. Mr(s). President, I don’t want to live in fear anymore. I want to be able to be my true self without having to worry about what bathroom I should use in public or worry about being harassed because of who I am. And I don’t want this for any other LGBT(+) person. America has a long history of discrimination against people who are “different” but we can change that. We are all human, we should all be equal to each other. I hope you help our community out and make life just a little bit easier to live. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope it made a positive impact on your decisions for this country.