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Married Today, Fired Tomorrow: What's next for the Gay community?

Married Today, Fired Tomorrow: What's next for the Gay community?


I was invited to write a guest column for What's Up Magazine discussing the impact of the US Supreme Court decsion in favor of marriage equality. Click here to see the original article.

From the riots at Stonewall in 1969 that launched the modern gay rights movement to the recent US Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, there have been great strides gained for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) population over the past 30+ years. Since Massachusetts became the first state in the union to legalize gay marriage in 2004, it’s funny to think the fight is now over. Since marriage equality is the law of the land, many people are asking themselves what’s next. No worries, there’s still much to be done. Here are just a few obstacles the LGBT community still faces:

1. Transgender Concerns: Since Caitlyn Jenner has shared her story of transition, she has created a platform to engage in this discussion arguably larger than any other individual. There is still much education that needs to happen as well as conquering the stigma and fear that endures today. Transgender individuals continue to face some of the harshest treatment of our society, including being murdered for who they are. Thankfully because of other individuals who have come before Caitlyn such as Laverne Cox, Brandon Teena, and Chaz Bono, the conversation about the transgender experience is starting to hit the mainstream in a way that hasn’t happened before, and will hopefully shed light and understanding to this community.

2. ENDA: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act which seeks to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by any employer with at least 15 employees has been introduced to Congress without passage since 1994. It is still very legal to not hire, discriminate, and fire someone based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Just as with other marginalized communities, laws sometimes need to be enacted in order to gain full access and rights as the rest of society. In recent days, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has declared that LGBT discrimination is protected through the Civil Rights Act, but has yet to be challenged in court.

3.–Isms: Unfortunately, there are still many issues which the LGBT community must face within itself. Just because they know what it is like to be discriminated against, does not make them immune from discriminating others. The LGBT community has a long history of sexism, racism, classism, and ableism, along with transphobia and the unacceptance of bisexuals. The LGBT community must learn to practice what it preaches about acceptance and unity.

Marriage equality does not end the fight for LGBT Americans, no more than electing Barack Obama ended racism in America. There is still much to be done and many bridges to cross before it can be said they are an equal member of society. But at least for now, the LGBT community can celebrate that they have come one step closer to full civil rights.

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Diversity Talks | Victor Santana-Melgoza | Ph: (541) 231-4768 | victor@diversitytalks.com