Caitlin S. Michigan

LGBTQ Rights

Future President, nearly 5% of Americans aren't properly protected from harassment and discrimination in schools and the workplace. These people are the LGBTQ community.

Dear Future President,

The severe lacking of federal laws concerning LGBTQ rights and discrimination is truly concerning in our time. With the increasing amount of people “coming out” and joining the LGBTQ community, the stagnation on legal rights is shameful. Many youth, teens, and adults are denied the basic right to live their own lives due to either legal restrictions, or through society’s image and opinions on their community. The truth is, we are all humans living together in this country, and we all deserve to have the same rights.

Religious followers who utilize the Bible are very diverse in their views, which makes it difficult to generalize them, but some are likely to object to the equality provided by laws concerning LGBTQ rights. This view may be promoted by religious teachings. A well-known example is from Leviticus 20:13, which reads, in the King James 21st century translation, that “If a man also lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them”. Yes, this line is said, and the language is quite direct on the effects of two men sharing a bed, but to stand by the Bible on all of its teachings, the American would have to believe that men and women cannot wear each other’s clothes, as stated in Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on woman’s garment; for all who do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God”. Every time a woman wears pants, that woman is disobeying the Bible and its teachings, and therefore committing an abomination under God. Another thing that following the Bible word for word, especially the King James Bible, will have you support is women being silent always, as said by Timothy 2:11-12, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” If one believes this passage word for word, then one would believe that women could not be teachers or even managers, because that would usurp the male student's or employee’s authority. This belief is limiting to over half of the country's’ population and to the opportunity to learn for the entire population. By believing the Bible word for word, one limits their perspective and may lead them to object equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

Many states lack laws to protect people from discrimination due to their gender identity and sexual orientation, as GLAD (Legal Advocates and Defenders for the LGBTQ community ) states. According to a map created by the HRC (Human Rights Campaign), only 20 states have laws that prohibit discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity for employment. This number is the same for states that have laws prohibiting discrimination on both for housing as well. The fact that only 40% of the United States completely protects their LGBTQ citizens in the work world and in purchasing a home is disgraceful, and needs to change to include all 50 states. This must be a federal issue, not a state one, for it will affect the entire LGBTQ community across the nation. If few states have these laws, and a gay couple, for example, has to move from a state with the anti-discrimination laws to a state without them, they may be unable to purchase a house. Due to this, the federal government should take action on the face of anti-discrimination laws pertaining to the LGBTQ public.

American companies tend to support their citizens and employees, but some stick to very homophobic values. One of these companies is Cracker Barrel, where “11 employees were fired for not showing ‘normal heterosexual values’...”. This is a minuscule reason to fire employees who already have a difficult time finding a job. Also, how does one define “heterosexual values”? Are they the action of a woman loving a man, and if so, wouldn’t that be an inappropriate value to display at a food service restaurant other than Hooters or another similar company? Another company that has openly stated their homophobic views is Urban Outfitters. The CEO donated “$13,150 to Rick Santorium’s campaign, aka his failed attempt at procuring the presidency. If there’s one thing that Santorum will always be remembered for is the definition of his name thanks to Dan Savage who thought the homophobic former Senator of Pennsylvania needed a lesson.” By openly supporting someone who is extremely anti-gay, the CEO is representing his views on the subject itself, and that is seen in the company as well. Neither of these companies have obvious religious ties, but they still stick by their beliefs despite the harm that comes to the LGBTQ community through that action.

In schools, LGBTQ youth experience high amount of harassment. To be exact, in the 2011 GLSEN National School Climate Survey, 81.9% of the surveyed young adults experienced verbal persecution due to their sexual orientation, and 63.9% experienced verbal harassment due to their gender identity. The statistics are much lower for physical harassment, but words can transform people faster than broken bones and black eyes can. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that youth victimized by bullying “are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment,” and “are at a greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems”. These may not seem to be a large problem, but when you consider these effects lasting through adulthood and possibly impacting the individual's life, the act of harassment comes at a much higher cost for the victims. From a few discriminatory words (such as fag, homo, sodomite, tranny, hermaphrodite, etc.) , the situation can escalate to much more dangerous circumstances. This is why the federal government should take action to protect the entire nation's future, in every school and state.

In conclusion, I implore the federal government to take action to protect both the youth and adult members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination and harassment, because these problems are seen and felt all across the nation, and not just in individual states. As a country that boasts freedom and the pursuit of happiness for all, it is abominable that we deny these ideals to 9 million Americans who are only human.

Clarkston Community Schools

Hausauer 2nd Hour

Second hour Honors ELA 10

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