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Why The Struggle For LGBTQ+ Rights Doesn’t End With Marriage Equality

June 26th, 2015 was a legendary day for many people. It was the day passion beat hate; it was the day millions of couples across the United States shed tears of joy, finally able to marry the one they loved. It was the day pride won over prejudice. It was the day love won.

However, what many people didn’t anticipate with the passing of the SCOTUS marriage equality ruling, was that enthusiasm for the fight for LGBT+ rights would eventually die down. At the time of publication, 50 days have passed since the legendary ruling. Since then, people who called themselves allies would turn their back on the movement, saying the war had been won, and there was no reason to push any further. It wasn’t expected that with such a monumental occasion, a monumental cost of dying ally support would come with.

What these people fail to realize is that there is an entire world full of issues for the LGBTQ+ community, and the right to marriage was only one item on a laundry list of problems that need to be solved. The people who think this way are forgetting about the bisexual boy who gets told every day that it’s just a phase. They’re ignoring the non-binary person who gets their identity invalidated every day, and is forced to conform to the gender binary. They’re ignoring the black transwoman who doesn’t know she’s going to become the 11th of her kind to die in 2015 through an act of violence.

They’re ignoring the BTQ+ in LGBTQ+. And that’s a major issue.

One of the things these “allies” are willfully ignorant to is the massive amount of transphobia transgender individuals see today.  While the common killings of transgender individuals is evidence enough, singer Drake Bell made himself a notable example when he stated he would still be calling Caitlyn Jenner as her birth name, on the date of her coming out.

However, this type of transphobia is mild compared to the horrific amount of hate crimes committed against the transgender community. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects reports that 45 percent of hate murders are committed against transgender women, and their studies also revealed that transgender individuals, especially transwomen of color, are most likely to experience discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence. To support this, in 2013, two-thirds of LGBTQ+ hate crimes were committed against transgender women of color. The transphobia that is integrated in America today is absolutely sickening, and it’s just as sickening to see supposed “allies” ignore these facts because they think the fight is over.

But the problem is, no one cares about the transgender community. There’s a grocery list of issues that deserve in-depth discussion when it comes to the T in LGBTQ+, but the only thing people cared to talk about are the first two letters. And support for them is dying, too.

So let’s talk about why the fight isn’t over, even for the gay and lesbian community. Homophobia is still clearly alive and well, with representation in the media growing, but still minimal. Aside from the obviousWill and Grace, a few notable examples include Oscar Martinez from the popular NBC sitcom The Office, and the wide arrange of bisexual and lesbian protagonists on the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Despite this, straight people still dominate movies, TV and the music industry, and this lack of representation can be damaging when it comes time to try to build up acceptance for boys who like boys and girls who like girls. And this effect is even more dramatic when it comes to the less common sexualities and genders, like genderqueer individuals, or bisexual, asexual and pansexual individuals.

But let’s think more in the macro sense. In the world, there are 75 countries that have outlawed homosexuality, and that list only grows if you include the Cook Islands, Gaza/Palestine, and the territories in Syria and Iraq that are controlled by ISIL, which are not recognized as countries by the international community. Furthermore, only 21 countries in the whole world have true marriage equality.

There is still a worldwide fight for not only marriage rights, but the freedom to even identify as homosexual.

The previous examples are only a few instances of battles still being fought within the LGBTQ+ community. These battles come together to create a scene of war, and not metaphorically. Lives of LGBTQ+ are being taken every day, no matter if it’s an assault against a gay man charged by homophobia, or a suicide, committed by a young queer girl who couldn’t handle the intolerance any longer.

There are lives on the line, and it’s time for allies to take them seriously. Because love doesn’t always win.

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Felix Kalvesmaki
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Felix is a 16-year-old, non-binary freelance writer from Dallas. They think and talk too much about pop culture.

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