LGBTQ Rights and the 2016 Election

By: Mary Panetta

#ProudToLove - Celebrating Marriage Equality and LGBT Pride Month

What is the LGBT community?

LGBT is the acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. There is also an extended version which is LGBTQIAPD. The added letter stand for questioning, Intersexual, Asexual, Pansexual/Polysexual, and Demisexual.

Why it matters

For decades the LGBT community in America has suffered. Members have been rejected from society, denied the right to marry, and discriminated against in everyday life. The LGBT Rights movement has slowly increased and now with modern media, more people can have their voice heard and speak out against the injustice. Since June 26th, 2015 when gay marriage was legalized throughout the county,the movement has gained a lot of publicity and attention allowing for more strides to take place. However, the topic is still very controversial and important to think about when voting for our new president in 2016.

The Controversy

The topic of LGBT rights has always been a touchy subject for certain people. Many believe that LGBT humans go against their religion and want coverage for refusing service to those that are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. While others believe that certain rights could lead to more problems such as the bathroom bill (see below). It seems as though the younger generations (Millenials and Z) are more excepting to the "progressive" ideas. Whereas older generations tend to be more closed off since they were taught as children that being gay is an issue that can be reversed. Will we take a step forward or a step back?

The Bathroom Bill

The Bathroom Bill (mainly backed by Republicans) is a short term for any legislature that is aimed at forcing transgender people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate. Supporters suggest that it protects children from sexual predators using a bathroom different to their gender to harass or sexually assault someone, even though there is no recorded case of anyone using a trans-inclusive law to do such. North Carolina passed the bill on March 23, 2016 and has experienced major backlash from the media.

The Two Sides

Kirsten Powers Battles Bill O’Reilly Over Trans Bathroom Rights - 5/23/16

The Equality Act of 2015

The Equality Act (mainly backed by Democrats) is a bill that was introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley and Rep. David Cicilline that would add to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It would ban discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The act is greatly needed in 31 states that do not yet have laws that protect LGBT members. Even though same-sex marriage was legalized,LGBT people can still experience legal discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Donald Trump and LGBT Rights

He told Bill O' Reilly in 2011, "I just don't feel good about it" when asked about Gay marriage

  • Trump has declined to support the Equality Act.
  • He supports the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) which would allow people to refuse service to and discriminate against those that are LGBT.
  • He has gone so far as to state that he would elect Supreme Court Justices that would be committed to reversing the same-sex marriage law.
  • Trump will not enforce any laws to protect LGBT members' rights.
  • He believes that the bathroom bill "situation" should be left for the states to decide individually.

Republicans in Congress

Overall, Republicans in congress are mostly against lgbt rights. They tend to believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and that children raised with both a mother and a father are "physically and emotionally healthier." Republicans are the main supporters of the FADA and want to protect the religious freedoms of American citizens.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary is an ally stating "...being lgbt does not make you any less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights".

  • Clinton wants to pass the Equality Act.
  • She wants to out-law "conversion therapy" for minors.
  • Clinton wants to end the discrimination of LGBT families at adoption facilities.
  • Clinton wants to make it easier for transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate
  • She is against the bathroom bill and believes that people, especially children, should be able to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.

Democrats in Congress

Overall, Democrats support equality of all and want to fight for LGBT rights. They believe that people should never be discriminated against for their identity, sexual orientation, sex, race, or culture. They will continue to make laws that protect the rights of all citizens.

Gary Johnson and Jill Stein

Both Johnson and Stein are supporters of the LGBTQ community and want to protect the rights of its members. Johnson's vice presidential running mate, Governor Bill Weld, actually appointed the judge who wrote the letter that established marriage equality as a constitutional right. *I was unable to find a lot of information on these candidates since not many people are focusing on them*

Organizations in America that are trying to help

There are MANY organizations that are fighting for the rights of LGBT people. Some of these are....

  • Campus Pride- Aims to make schools safer for LGBT members.
  • Equality Federation- Their mission is to work with state-based LGBT organizations to improve the lives of LGBT citizens.
  • GLAAD- Working to promote and ensure fair,equal, and accurate representation in media as a way eliminate homophobia and stereotypes.

Organizations in America that are trying to hurt

Where there is good, there is bad. Some of the bad is..

  • Focus on the Family- Believes that no one is born LGBT but is instead infected by society and can have it reversed. They think that LGBT members corrupt children and should not be given certain rights.
  • Americans for Truth About Homosexuality- Orchestrates sometimes vicious attacks, and spreads propaganda full of lies. They believe that homosexuality is a "dangerous" and "lethal behavioral addiction".

My Stance

As you might be aware of by now, I am a huge ally of the LGBT community. I know that people are just born a certain way and that is great. Life would be boring if everyone was the same. I believe that everyone should be given equal rights. I find it absurd that the country with the famous line "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" does not have laws in place to protect its citizens so they can be happy. I believe that if someone truly identifies as female or male ( or anywhere on the spectrum of gender identity), regardless of their physical traits, wants to use a certain bathroom or change their birth certificate, then they should be allowed to. In order to make strides for the LGBT community I think, as do many others, that there should be more representation in media that is also accurate and that the government needs to protect its citizens so no one can be discriminated against.