The Fight for Equal Rights: How Accepting Is America?

The June 15, 2020, US Supreme Court Ruling on LGBTQ+ rights is historic. The decision protects LGBTQ+ rights from discrimination in the workplace. Yet while the world is now more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community these days, there is still much work.

In a recent survey by Pew Research Center, 16 out of 34 countries say that society should accept homosexuality. In the United States, there is a significant divide on how Americans accept homosexuality. At least 85 percent of Democrats believe there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality. Meanwhile, about 58% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents share the same belief.

Opinions vary per country. It is evident how many LGBTQ+ members continue to experience discrimination.

How Accepting is America?

In 2020, the Center for American Progress surveyed LGBTQ+ adults. It aimed to explore “the lives, attitudes, and experiences of LGBTQ+ Americans.”

It found out that one in three Americans who are LGBTQ+ members experienced discrimination last year. This includes three in five Americans who identify themselves as transgender. Here is where they faced discrimination:

  • Public Areas: Most of the respondents’ experiences happened in a store, public transportation, or restroom. Others faced discrimination in the workplace, school, or their neighborhood. LGBTQ+ members are often not allowed access or humiliated in public.
  • At Work: Respondents said that they experienced discrimination for their sexual orientation. According to them, this affected their job application. Others also experienced discrimination, which affected their salary. Others experienced discrimination, which affected their promotion or ability to keep their jobs. Transgender Americans also experienced the worst struggles at work.

Meanwhile, discrimination experience varies on the level of income of LGBTQ+ Americans. Only 47 percent who earn not more than $25,000 yearly experienced discrimination. Meanwhile, only 6 percent of those who make $100,000 yearly experienced the same.

LGBTQ+ American respondents also noted that they experienced discrimination when seeking health care. At least 15 percent of them postponed their medical consultation due to discrimination. Others avoided medical care despite being sick or injured. Some of them even avoided consulting a doctor to avoid discrimination.

LGBTQ crowd

How Can Society Fight to End Discrimination Against LGBTQ+ Members?

As long as LGBTQ+ members experience discrimination, the fight will never be over. There is still a lot of work to do in a world where some countries still consider homosexuality illegal.

If you are an LGBTQ+ member who is facing discrimination, continue to fight for your rights. If you are not a member but an ally, you might want to contribute to the LGBTQ+’s fight for equality. Here’s what you can do in your little way:

  • Be Visible: Show up. In the Pride March. In that online forum discussion on LGBTQ+ rights. In your meet-up with your friends where you get to share your thoughts as an LGBTQ+. Show up and speak up and talk about what matters to you and the LGBTQ+ community. Speak up and be heard on social media. Use social media platforms to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ struggles. Share your stories. Encourage others to listen.
  • Educate People: You don’t have to spend an hour on sexual and gender identity orientation. It can be as simple as correcting people’s misconceptions about LGBTQ+ members. How they view sexual orientation and gender is influenced by their culture, religion, education level, and others. Not everyone has the same understanding of LGBTQ+ rights. Take every opportunity you get to educate people.
  • Fight Against Discrimination: Discrimination and disrespect are a little too much. If you feel offended or hurt by other people’s remarks or if you’ve been ridiculed and put to shame, take action. In Virginia, 33 LGBTQ+ students filed a class lawsuit against the Department of Education early this year. The students allegedly faced discrimination at different colleges and universities within 18 states. Typically, a third party will attempt to sue for class action mediation among affected parties. However, how the case goes will depend on how strong your evidence is of your experience.
  • Join Movements and Lobby for Your Rights: The fight for equality in legislation is still new. You need to fight for anti-discrimination in the workplace and public places. You need to fight for equal rights in marriage and health care. Join organizations that do not only bring the fight to the streets but also Congress. Sign petitions. Let your voice be heard.

It is unfortunate that discrimination still happens. Yet it also should be noted that the LGBTQ+ community has achieved so much in recent years. The call for inequality has never been this loud, and it will even get louder in the days to come. The fight for equal rights will continue.