The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Pride movement has seen numerous victories in recent years. Whether won through litigation or social support, the fact still remains, the fact still remains LGBT’s have not yet been integrated into society. Today, LGBT and their allies are still fighting for equal opportunities whether it be through political ideology or social movements, yet the problem is why do the have to? The LGBT movement is an equality movement, wanting nothing more than any individual does: to be an accepted part of society.
Currently, there are nineteen states the have legal same-sex marriage laws decided by state legislature, court decision or popular vote. Unsurprisingly, these states tend to be more liberal such as Massachusetts or California for example. Though the tide seems headed towards another victory for the LGBT community, how long will it take? For example, as of now, twelve states are pending for appeals to decide the future for LGBT’s marriage rights within their home states. Most notably are the rulings in conservative Utah and Oklahoma which have struck down previous same-sex marriage bans within their respective states. Federal Judge Robert J. Shelby for the District of Utah found that Amendment 3 of Utah’s Constitution to be in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which guarantees “due process and equal protection.” Due to Federal Judge Shelby’s decision, many other states have followed precedent and appealed to repeal bans on same-sex marriage laws. Inevitably, the tide which will decide the future of same-sex marriage will hit the Supreme Court, and little is left to the imagination in their ruling.
Aside from the fight for political equality, the struggle for social equality proves just as difficult. Within a culture deeply entrench in unconscious heteronormativity, it’s no surprise that the LGBT community has struggled as much as it has. Regardless, the fight for equality continues through the utilization of pride parades and more recently, Pride prom. Pride prom is a catalyst against the “heteronorms” of precedented gender identity. Students (especially in the LGBT youth) are encouraged to show their pride, and reflect on a hopeful notion: there is no shame in being yourself.
Although the idea of acceptance is a romantic one surely, it falls short of reality. Despite the generous leaps the LGBT community has gained within the past fifty years, LGBT’s have not yet been integrated into society. Consequently, LGBT adolescent and young adult suicide rate is comparatively higher than that of the general public. No one has ever died of homsexuality, only rejection and ignorance. The heterocentric is lethal to not only the LGBT community, but equality as a whole. Luckily, it is not impossible to save a life.
Tolerance, patience and eventually acceptance are key to the survival of a community, and inevitably, equality. The first step is to legalize same-sex marriage rights, a fundamental right. Society has decided to turn a blind eye on and repeat history. For example, the case Loving v Virginia legalized interracial marriage rights. Now, interracial couples are generally viewed as a norm in the United States, so why have we isolated this fundamental right to race, why not sexuality? Naturally, with this right guaranteed, other political and economic rights would surely ensue. Political standing is a powerful tool that would enable the LGBT community to flex a power that would slowly weave them into our tightly knit society. The second step is to realize that the LGBT community is a culture. To reject a culture within the Melting Pot of the world is ignorant, and just plain unpatriotic. We have learned time and time again that separate cannot be equal so instead of repeating history, why not try rewriting the future.
All in all, whether it be through the courtrooms or social support, everyone will be one step closer to the equality that the United States is famous for providing, because equality cannot exist unless it is quintessential. Inevitably, the LGBT movement will find itself with a victory in our battle for equality through the highest power in the land: the Supreme Court, but the battle of universal, fundamental marriage rights does not mark the end of the war, it merely scrapes the surface. The real war is won when there is no difference between black or white, straight or gay, woman or man, but when we truly accept all the ingredients that make the United States a melting pot.