Thursday, January 21, 2016

America's Continued Gay Rights Blindness

Despite the victory for same sex marriage, much still needs to be done before LGBT Americans will have full equality under the laws.  Sadly, a new Harris Poll finds that most Americans are clueless on the issues and discrimination that LGBT individuals face.  They are similarly blind about the plague of LGBT homeless youth - most thrown out by their "godly Christian" parents and families - HIV treatment and support, and many other issues.  The Daily Beast looks at this blindness and failure of Americans to look into their own hearts and see that they are part of the problem.  Here are article highlights:

Same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide last year in a landmark Supreme Court ruling but, as we enter 2016, new data from GLAAD shows that many Americans believe Obergefell v. Hodges was the finish line for LGBT equality.

Half of all non-LGBT Americans believe that gay people currently have the same rights as everyone else, according to a Harris Poll survey of over 2,000 adults commissioned by GLAAD for its second annual Accelerating Acceptance report.

The findings only get more disheartening from there. Nearly 30 percent of non-LGBT respondents said they feel uncomfortable when they see a same-sex couple holding hands or learn that their child’s teacher is LGBT. A quarter of them believe that high rates of depression andsuicide among LGBT people are “not serious” and 27 percent said the same about violence against transgender people.

These numbers are an improvement from last year but not by much. Many fell by only a few percentage points and some—like discomfort with LGBT history lessons being taught in schools or at seeing an LGBT co-worker’s wedding photo—were virtually unchanged. In 2016, it may be legal for a lesbian to get married but she will still likely pause before planting a picture of her spouse on her desk.

Over a third of non-LGBT respondents to the Harris Poll survey—36 percent—said that social acceptance of LGBT people wasn’t a serious problem, even though many of their own survey responses ironically prove that it still is.

The facts about the current state of LGBT acceptance are easy enough to consult: Over half of all states have no statewide employment non-discrimination law covering sexual orientation or gender identity. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than straight kids, and a quarter of transgender youth have made an attempt. Twenty-one transgender people, primarily young transgender women of color, were murdered in the U.S. last year—the highest recorded number in history. Those numbers don’t lie, and there are plenty of other sobering statistics where they came from.

When same-sex marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court last June, leaders of major LGBT organizations in the U.S. told The Daily Beast that their fight was far from over, citing a wide range of remaining issues including employment discrimination, anti-transgender violence, school bullying, detention of LGBT immigrants, bisexual acceptance, and LGBT youth homelessness.

What’s concerning now is just how many people think it’s over, and just how wrong they are.  

Somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT but 37 percent of non-LGBT respondents to the Harris Poll survey said the problem wasn’t “serious.” That includes 10 percent who said it was “not at all serious.”

There's more, so read the entire piece.

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