Opinión/ Opinion

Opinion: Rights for LGBTQ+ community doesn’t mean less rights for anyone else

(ALYSSA ORNELAS/ La Plaza Foto)

By LILITH VAN RY

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges that denying gay couples a marriage license was a violation of the Constitution. According to the 14th Amendment of the United States of America:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Marriage has become part of their undeprivable rights to live their life freely, regardless of sexuality or race.

This was a huge step for the LGBTQ+ community. After decades of suppression, hatred and ignorance, finally there would be equality and acceptance. The sad truth of the situation is yes, many people, LGBTQ+ or not, celebrated this victory, but so many other people were furious over  this development. In fact, Obergefell v. Hodges only passed five to four, meaning that of nine supreme court justices, four did not support giving gay couples the right to marry.

Why is the legal right for a homosexual couple to be together such an issue for some people?  What it essentially boils down to is homophobia, a lack of knowledge and a perceived loss of one’s own rights, so let’s break that down.

The definition of homophobia is an intense dislike or prejudice against a homosexual person.  Often times, the argument justifying someone’s homophobia follows along the lines of “the Bible said…” Obviously, this is not the case for everyone, as there are many religious people who are accepting of the gay community, but the excuse is popular enough to still make this list.

The ignorance surrounding the LGBTQ+ community is another huge problem that needs to be confronted. Many people just assume that people of the LGBTQ+ community do not have any issues, that they already “have everything.” In reality, the mental health issues among the community, in a large part due to the rampant hate and lack of support, is absolutely staggering.  

According to The Trevor Project, the number of youths in the LGBTQ+ community that have seriously considered suicide is nearly three times that of the heterosexual youths, and are five times as likely to actually attempt suicide. Youth who come from families that rejected them and have dealt with maltreatment are more likely to commit suicide, 8.4 times more likely to be exact.  What is even more terrifying is that any time a LGBTQ+ person experiences harassment, hate or abuse, self harming behaviour becomes 2.5 times more likely to occur.

With this pervasiveness of mental illness and extensive pain experienced by young and old LGBTQ+ individuals, America as a nation cannot afford to remain ignorant. Every life has a value, whether heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual or gay.

Straight pride parade, what is it, some may ask? It is a parade dedicated to mostly straight white American citizens who feel like, for whatever reason, Pride Month infringes on their rights as heterosexual individuals. Let’s be very honest, there is no infringement upon anyone’s rights, plain and simple. June as Pride Month began after the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, where eight police men entered a notoriously gay bar and arrested drag queens—dressing as the opposite sex was still considered a crime in 1969. This happened quite frequently, but the community decided to fight back that night, thus creating “Pride Day,” which eventually became the Pride Month.

Pride parade was created to celebrate the advancement of rights among the LGBTQ+ population.  It has become a way for roughly 10 percent of people in the world to come together and celebrate who they are, and the opposition they have faced. When the straight population has faced harassment and stoning in the streets for existing, for walking home at night from pride parades, for wearing their “swag” on the subway home, then, and only then, do they deserve a straight pride parade.

The rights of the LGBTQ+ community have been so disputed because people who have had rights for their whole lives are now seeing others gain a modicum of equality, which should have already been guaranteed. The world has a history of hate and bigotry, the opposition of gay rights is one of the most prominent forms of this prejudice.

Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://laplaza.press/2019/11/06/opinion-los-derechos-para-la-comunidad-lgbtq-no-significa-menos-derechos-para-nadie-mas-2/

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