Saturday, June 15, 2013

Being LGBT in Hopefully Changing Times

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While being gay in America is far better than it used to be - and is far better than being gay in some other countries, especially Islamic ruled countries and ignorant countries in Africa buying into the the anti-gay hate propaganda of the Christofascists - life remains more challenging for many of us than it is for or straight counterparts.  Thankfully the trend for improvement in America seems to still be upward.  But employment discrimination is a real threat in 29 states and here in Virginia, Virginia law recognizes my ownership of my Chihuahua far more than it does my relationship with my life partner.  Indeed, under Virginia law were are virtual strangers.  A new Pew Research Center survey of LGBT citizens has some interesting findings that range from when we first thought we were gay to  the experiences we have had in terms of being mistreated.   Here are excerpts on the findings:

An overwhelming share of America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults (92%) say society has become more accepting of them in the past decade and an equal number expect it to grow even more accepting in the decade ahead. They attribute the changes to a variety of factors, from people knowing and interacting with someone who is LGBT, to advocacy on their behalf by high-profile public figures, to LGBT adults raising families.

About four-in-ten (39%) say that at some point in their lives they were rejected by a family member or close friend because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; 30% say they have been physically attacked or threatened; 29% say they have been made to feel unwelcome in a place of worship; and 21% say they have been treated unfairly by an employer. About six-in-ten (58%) say they’ve been the target of slurs or jokes.

The survey finds that 12 is the median age at which lesbian, gay and bisexual adults first felt they might be something other than heterosexual or straight. For those who say they now know for sure that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, that realization came at a median age of 17.   Among those who have shared this information with a family member or close friend, 20 is the median age at which they first did so.

The survey finds that the LGBT population is distinctive in many ways beyond sexual orientation. Compared with the general public, Pew Research LGBT survey respondents are more liberal, more Democratic, less religious, less happy with their lives, and more satisfied with the general direction of the country. On average, they are younger than the general public. Their family incomes are lower, which may be related to their relative youth and the smaller size of their households. They are also more likely to perceive discrimination not just against themselves but also against other groups with a legacy of discrimination.
The last finding is ironic because the homophobia of many black pastors who allow themselves to be used as tools of the white Christofascists helps alienate otherwise would be allies.  Of course, from NOM's internal documents that this is one of the express goals of the Christofascists.

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