Picture this: five decades ago, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder; same-sex sexual activity a crime; and LGBTQ workers could’ve been fired easily. Fast forward to today where gays openly serve as frontiers in the military, function as noteworthy icons in the media, and occupy significant positions in the government.
Attitudes towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) are changing. Gone are the days when men beating up gay people was a norm and policemen raiding gay bars was a regularity. These acts of harassment are now universally regarded as discrimination, and those who detest, condemn, and criticize homosexuality are considered somewhat lost. The progress in the quest for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans (LGBTQ) freedom and rights over the years has been monumental, to say the least.
Pulling Back The Curtains Of Homosexuality
The proliferation of gay political organizations in Europe and the United States began in the 1970s and 1980s. Several groups such as the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in the United States, and Stonewall and Outrage! in the United Kingdom paved the way for similar organizations all around the world to start fighting for their legal rights and major social reforms. The battle endures to this day. The LGBTQ community continues to advocate for equality and fight for the abolishment of sodomy laws which prohibit homosexual acts between two consenting adults; the provision of equal rights regardless of the sexual orientation of a person; and putting an end to the imminent discrimination against the LGBTQ people in numerous aspects of life.
LGBTQ Rights All Around The World
A State-Sponsored Homophobia Report released in May 2017 by the International Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex association (ILGA) records that death penalty still exists in eight states and that a total of 72 states continue to criminalize same-sex consensual activity. On the bright side, there are now over 22 countries around the world which recognize and provide for same-sex marriage; 28 states offer legislation which protects partnership relationships; 27 UN States allow for same-sex parent adoption; 72 states offer laws on discrimination in the workplace; and 63 states which offer provisions on non-discrimination law.
The Many Faces Of Discrimination
While we live in a time where society is developing an open-mindedness towards the LGBTQ, bias is still rampant—at home, schools, workplaces, communities — and has posed severe mental health threats. According to statistics, suicide attempts in the LGBTQ youth are four times greater than among straight youth, and of transgender adults, around 40% have made suicide attempts, 92% of them before the age of 25.
It also states that the LGBTQ community is ten times more likely to suffer from discrimination compared with heterosexual people. These statistics as a whole are not only telling a precise story of the personal battle these individuals go through, but more importantly, a futile waste of potential.
LGBTQ youth who are rejected in their homes and are bullied at school often end up homeless and LGBTQ people who go through workplace hostility often experience cognitive impairment, hindering them to showcase their real potential.
Gender-Exclusion And Its Price
In 2015, India alone was reported to have possibly been losing up to $32 billion a year in economic output while a loss of roughly over $1.4 billion was recorded for companies in the United States. The decrease in productivity was identified as a key factor in the recorded financial damages.
Compared to the general population, members of the LGBTQ community — with emphasis on lesbians and transgender people — were said to perform poorly as a whole, due to inflicted discrimination in the workplace. As a result, various studies found that economic hardships including poverty, hunger, and unemployment are prominent in the LGBTQ community.
These statistics on the negative impact of LGBTQ discrimination show that it has its tolls. Not only does it hurt individuals, but it also affects families, harms corporations, and hampers the economic growth of a country.
Embracing Diversity, Committing To Equality
The pace in the movements for LGBTQ rights in different territories all over the world has been breathtakingly fast, but one should not, for one second, think that the fight is over. It is far from over. Numerous states still do not allow for LGBTQ people to have equal legal employment, adopt and build their own family, live in certain communities, or get married.
There’s still much work to be done, but the spirit and the strength that LGBTQ people emanate continues to shine for a future that promises equal rights for everybody, and unity that transcends boundaries.
We live in a time where society has become more accepting than ever. Let us continue to embrace diversity. Let us all commit to equality.
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