Opinion | Rejecting discrimination against LGBTQ+ community


Ankush Vyas

The idea that gay teenagers are openly promoting who they are without fear of social consequence is a beautiful development.

Matthew Rago, Editor-in-Chief

As a straight male, I do not understand the social standards and norms of the LGBTQ+ community. I do not understand the concept of same-sex attraction or dressing in drag. I don’t pretend to understand why biological men or women prefer to adopt the mannerisms and styles associated with the opposite sex.

However, I also understand that just because I don’t understand these elements of the LGTBQ+ culture does not give me the right to dehumanize or hate the LGBTQ+ community. Not sharing someone’s biological characteristics or understanding their individualized preferences does not provide me–or anyone else, for that matter–justification to celebrate as their fundamental rights as human beings are brought under attack time and time again.

I follow both liberal and conservative media outlets. I believe entertaining ideas that do not mirror my own is imperative to forming an educated opinion. However, the pure derision spewed from conservative outlets towards the LGBTQ+ community is alarming and misguided.

Today, Americans watch passively and helplessly as the trans community is routinely treated as a subhuman species. Their healthcare is under assault. In September, the Department of Human Health cancelled a plan that would explicitly prohibit hospitals from discriminating against transgender Medicaid patients based on their sexual identity. This is even more egregious when one considers that trans men and women are four times as likely to live in povertous conditions, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

Trans men and women are now excluded from serving in the military a mere three years after Congress voted to allow members of the trans community to enlist. Transgender and transsexual men and women who were actively serving were expelled unless they agreed to “pretend” to adhere to the social standards of their biological sex. In other words, they were forced to choose between embracing their authentic selves and pursuing their dream of serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Most recently, the Trump administration contended that LGBTQ+ workers are not covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

But why do people even care? Why does one care if another man or woman engages in romance with the same sex, opposite sex or both? Why do people care who gets married or who raises children, so long that each member of the household is safe and happy? And why does anyone else care how an individual dresses or behaves, so long as the behavior isn’t corrosive, offensive or blatantly inappropriate?

Today’s anti-LGBTQ+ arguments are essentially recycled arguments from past conservative resistances. The idea that we can’t allow our children to be exposed to gay affection sounds eerily similar to the defenses that reinforced segregation. The contention that the trans community suffers from mental illness runs parallel to the argument that gay men and women suffered from a psychological handicap until the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed such a diagnoses from the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-II). And isn’t the assertion that we should deprive the trans community of the full scope of political, social and human rights the same argument that was used to fight against women’s suffrage?

Furthermore, the religious arguments are farcical at best and malicious at worst. The same people who use the Bible to degrade the LGBTQ+ community are promoting blatant hypocrisy, cherry-picking religious teachings to justify their hate. The intolerant will quickly recite biblical passages that demean homosexuality but conveniently skip over outdated, countercultural passages such as 1 Timothy 2:12 (“I do not permit a woman to teach or assume authority over a man; she must be quiet”) or Judges 11:30-39, which states that our daughters are an acceptable sacrifice to the gods.

At some point we must ask the question: when do we become fatigued from people being targeted for existing as they are. Before America targeted the trans community, the Mexican and Muslim demographics were under attack; before developing a vendetta against Mexicans and Muslims, it was gay men and women; before attacking homosexuality, Americans fought against civil rights and desegregation. Before that, it was Japanese internment camps, women’s suffrage and abolitionists. In other words, there’s always a target and it is always mystifying when such intolerance is viewed through a retrospective lens.

Just the other day, this author witnessed three preteen, same sex couples walking down the street holding hands in public. I couldn’t help but reminisce on my time in elementary school when preteen members of the LGBTQ+ community were forced to jealously guard their sexual orientation and identity, afraid to announce who they were and what they enjoyed.

Say what you will about the emergence of LGTBQ+ superheroes and the introduction of homosexuality into cartoons. Say what you will about bathroom access. Say what you will about the far left. But the idea that gay teenagers are openly promoting who they are without fear of social consequence is a beautiful development. Yes, there are many nuanced discussions that still need to be had. But if the very acceptance that allows this upcoming generation of children to openly identity however they so choose isn’t worth celebration, I’m simply not sure what is.