LGBTQ Rights By: Ellie Ponko

Through the past couple of years LGBTQ people have been fighting for their equal rights. They have been discriminated against, called out, and denied basic rights because of their love. Journalist German Lopez observed that, “In Colorado, Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to make a cake for a gay couple's wedding reception. In Indiana, a pizzeria gained national publicity after the owners said they would not cater a same-sex wedding. In Michigan, an auto shop announced it would not serve gay or lesbian people, sparking a local protest.” (German Lopez) These stores and caterers serve all people, but will not serve LGBTQ people. This is unjust and unfair because all people should have be served by stores no matter their love life. Also, “Currently, 20 states ban at least some forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, while two additional states ban discrimination based on sexual orientation” (German Lopez) Out of 50 states, it is legal for businesses and people in 28 states to discriminate people because of their sexuality. Clearly, LGBT people are being denied civil rights because of their love and it needs to be stopped.

Rights for LGBTQ people and African Americans during the Reconstruction were similar because basic rights were denied for both minority groups. One example of rights being denied is that until 2003, it was illegal for lesbian and gay couples to get married in all states. (Rochelle Finzel Alison May) All people should have the right to get married to whoever they want, but same-sex couples were denied this right just until 14 years ago. Similarly, African Americans were denied basic rights like marriage during Reconstruction. Until the 15th amendment in 1870, African Americans were not allowed to vote. “Laws were soon passed banning interracial marriages and racially segregating railroad cars along with the public schools. Laws and practices were also put in place to make sure blacks would never again freely participate in elections.” (Constitutional Rights Foundation) They were denied segregated in schools, railroads and more, and they were denied the right to vote and marry people of a different race.

LGBTQ rights and African American’s rights were different because the African Americans were violently targeted and the LGBTQ people were not. For 42 years the Gay Pride Parade has been going on. Before they were given rights, the people would march to New York and chant for rights. ("WGBH American Experience.") It is now a celebration that, while it takes up many streets and crowds major cities, does not involve any damage or harm. On the other hand, during Reconstruction there was violence everywhere, killing many African Americans. “Six hundred marchers assembled in Selma on Sunday, March 7, and, led by John Lewis and other SNCC and SCLC activists, crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River en route to Montgomery. Just short of the bridge, they found their way blocked by Alabama State troopers and local police who ordered them to turn around. When the protesters refused, the officers shot teargas and waded into the crowd, beating the nonviolent protesters with billy clubs and ultimately hospitalizing over fifty people.” (“The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed.") These black citizens were not causing any harm, they were just fighting for their rights. Although both groups were doing the same thing, a peaceful march for freedom, the African Americans were targeted and killed, while the LGBTQ people were left alone.

Bloody Sunday 1965

Today there are many civil rights issues worth fighting for. Rights for LGBTQ people is a very important one as, “There are more than 8 million adults who identify as LGB in the U.S., or 3.5% of the adult population.” ("Transgender: By the Numbers.") Many people are in this category, and they all deserve equal rights as normal people. Organizations like ACLU, American Civil Rights Union, HRW, Human Rights Union, and others fight to preserve equal rights for all people. Supporting organizations like that help gain support for equal rights and shows that people care for their rights. Also, participating or attending the Gay Pride Parades can be a helpful way to show that equality is for everyone. Civil rights are not optional for certain groups of people, but are essential and a right that everyone deserves.

WORKS CITED: "Brown v. Board 50th Anniversary." Constitutional Rights Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017. <http://www.crf-usa.org/brown-v-board-50th-anniversary/>. "LGBT Rights." American Civil Liberties Union. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017. <https://www.aclu.org/issues/lgbt-rights#current>. Lopez, German. "How Most States Allow Discrimination against LGBTQ People." Vox. Vox, 22 Apr. 2015. Web. 21 Mar. 2017. <http://www.vox.com/2015/4/22/8465027/lgbt-nondiscrimination-laws>. May, Rochelle Finzel Alison. "Same-Sex Marriage Laws." Same-Sex Marriage Laws. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2017. <http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/same-sex-marriage-laws.aspx>. "Selma, Alabama, (Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed." Selma, Alabama, (Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017. <http://www.blackpast.org/aah/bloody-sunday-selma-alabama-march-7-1965>. "Transgender: By the Numbers." Times Union. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017. <http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Transgender-by-the-numbers-2342726.php>. "WGBH American Experience." PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2017. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2011/06/09/pride-parade/>.

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