Amanda G. Michigan

In 29 States You Can Be Fired For Being LGBT+

In 29 states in the U.S. you can legally get fired for being gay. An end needs to be put to employment discrimination.

To the Future President of the United States, 

 A lot of progress has been made in the LGBT+ community these past two years, like with the legalization of same sex marriage in all 50 states, but it is crazy to think that in these same states you can be fired just because you're gay. 

In places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and almost all states in the South, a perfectly well qualified, competent, and able worker could lose their job because of something as subjective as their sexual orientation. This is not only unfair to the people, but unfair to employers who are losing out on a potentially great employee because of their small mindedness. 

I'm a firm believer in that you can't be mad at a person for something they know nothing about, and I feel like a lot of people don't understand that you don't just wake up one day and say to yourself, "I'm going to be gay!" Just like the fact that we're all born with a different skin color, being LGBT+ is something countless people are also born with. Many struggle with it, can be shunned by their own families and friends for it, and whether they hide who they are or not, they have to live with these feelings for the rest of their life. A lot of people don't know what this is like, and are quick not to think too much about it. Knowing that it's different from them, many will just peg it as wrong.

People complain that they don't want to see two men kissing in public, or that it influences the youth, but who really wants to see anyone making out in front of their children. A person isn't going to see a gay couple and change their sexual orientation right then and there, it doesn't work that way. The same goes for inside the workplace. I don't understand how who someone loves or what gender they identify as, affects another person's life in any way, shape or form, much less their employer. You go to work to do your job, and if you aren't doing it properly, then that merits getting fired. I can only imagine how annoying and downright sad it is for people who are gay and employed in one of these states, that have to be careful in hiding who they are as to not get fired. It's fantastic that more and more people are having the confidence to not be afraid to not hide who they are, but it's costing many their jobs. 

In Missouri, a man named James Pittman was continuously harassed, and then fired for being gay. Pittman endured employees calling him names, asking him if he had AIDS, mocking him for having a boyfriend, among other humiliating occurrences. When Pittman tried to sue the company for wrongly firing him, the court dismissed his suit, claiming that what his company did was perfectly legal. This is just one injustice that has happened to someone in America. In states like California and New Jersey, however, there is a law against employee discrimination for sexual orientation and gender identity. This law needs to be made federal during your presidency. In 2016 nobody should legally be allowed to discriminate in the workplace, or at all, quite frankly. 

A certain bill that has been going through congress for two decades, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, has been shut down because of conservative objection. With this law, people wouldn't have to fear being unjustly fired anymore. It is important that in order to truly get closer to equality for all, this bill be passed. I sincerely hope that during your presidency, an end can be put to LGBT+ employment discrimination. Every single human in the United States deserves to have equal opportunity, and feel safe in their own community. Hopefully one day that will be a reality.  

                                                                                                                          -Amanda, 16

Allen Park High School

APHS Advanced Placement Language and Composition

Allen Park High School is located in Southeastern Michigan. AP Lang studies rhetoric. Additionally, students produce text to narrate, persuade, and inform.

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