2018 hasn’t been a great year for the LGBT community. If we’re being honest, it’s been a rough road since President Trump took office after being elected in 2016. Many of the hard-won rights that were protected under the Obama administration have been under attack ever since our current president took office.
While we’re still making strides forward for equal rights for the LGBT community, the strides are getting smaller and there are places where we’re still going very wrong. Where are we making missteps when it comes to LGBT rights, and what can we do to make them right?
When marriage for LGBT citizens became legal nationwide in 2015, it was a massive win for the LGBT community. Couples no longer had to travel, sometimes states away, to make their marriage legal in the eyes of the government. It was, and still is, a great thing.
However, there are some places that are still fighting it, as was the case in Kentucky with County Clerk Kim Davis denying marriage licenses to gay couples. In spite of the federal ruling, she cited her own religious beliefs as the reason that she would not issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
That story has a happy ending. David Ermold, one of the men who was denied a marriage license by Davis’s discriminatory practices, is now running against her for her seat as county clerk.
While this story might have a happy ending, not all of them do. In 31 states, it is still legal to discriminate against someone for their sexual orientation. That means members of the LGBT community can be evicted from their homes, fired from their jobs and even denied medical services simply because of who they love.
This happened to one lesbian couple in 2015. Six days after their daughter was born, they took her to a highly recommended pediatrician for a regular checkup — only to be told that the doctor wouldn’t see them because of their sexual orientation. According to the doctor they spoke to, the pediatrician “prayed on it” and decided she wouldn’t see them.
The doctor, based in Michigan, was within her rights because Michigan is one of the states that allows discrimination against LGBT individuals based on sexual orientation.
The Quest for Equal Rights
Most non-LGBT individuals support equal rights for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. In spite of this, a whopping 80 percent of them think it’s already illegal to discriminate against someone due to their sexual orientation. That is where we are still missing the mark on our quest for equal rights for everyone — when false information like this spreads, we get complacent and stop fighting for rights.
A new ad campaign, created as a joint project of the Gill Foundation, the Ad Council and agency CP+B, is hoping to bring these issues back into the public eye. “Beyond I Do” was designed to capture the stories of LGBT individuals across the country who have suffered because of their sexual orientation. These individuals have often been left without homes, without jobs and without medical treatment.
It is mind-boggling that in 2018, so many states still think that it’s acceptable to punish someone for who they love. There is little enough love in the world as it is, and we should be celebrating it wherever we find it — even if we have to fight to do so.
This new ad campaign will hopefully bring the fight back to the forefront of American minds and remind people that the fight is still going on. Even if it doesn’t affect you directly, it still impacts millions of individuals on a daily basis.