The Problems with Homophobia Today Kimberly Solano

How would you feel if people bullied and criticized you for choosing to love the same gender as you? Or for identifying as a different gender from your biological sex? What if someone you deeply cared for came out as gay, or a member of the LGBT+ community and was emotionally, mentally, and/or physically hurt for being gay or transgender? How would you feel? What would you do?

Thousands of people go through this everyday. They are hurt for being who they truly are or for loving someone of their own gender.

Homophobia and transphobia are serious issues that affect the LGBT+ community. It’s honestly quite ridiculous. People are hurting others because they found love and/or they finally feel like they’re comfortable with themselves and people just try to alienate them or bring them down. There are many unresolved issues with homophobia and transphobia, some of them being, young people and adults committing suicide because they can’t handle the bullying and alienation anymore; they feel like they have no other escape or even sometimes in occasions people actually murdering members of the LGBT community. Other issues are things such as teenagers being kicked out of their homes because their parents are homophobic or transphobic which sometimes leads to suicide as well.

The first topic that we shall discuss today are the effects of bullying that many LGBT teenagers go through and the effects which in some cases includes suicide and self-harm. One my pieces of evidence on this topic is the fact that often the main reason for bullying in schools is due to something that may set themselves apart from the norm which sometimes tend to include sexual orientation. In fact, 62% of homeless gay and transgender youth attempt suicide. “According to recent gay bullying statistics, gay and lesbian teens are two to three times as more likely to commit teen suicide than other youths. About 30 percent of all completed suicides have been related to sexual identity crisis. Students who also fall into the gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgender identity groups report being five times as more likely to miss school because they feel unsafe after being bullied due to their sexual orientation. About 28 percent out of those groups feel forced to drop out of school altogether.” Reported a bullying statistics website (Gay Bullying Statistics). This shows that teens that are bullied for their sexual or gender identity not only are up to 2 to 3 times more likely to commit suicide than other teens but 30% of all completed suicides are related to bullying for their identities. If that isn’t bad enough, students are dropping out and missing school because they feel unsafe and forced. Not only is the bullying messing with students’ physical and mental health but it is also messing with their education. In fact, “LGBT students are twice as likely to say that they were not planning on completing high school or going on to college.” Said an LGBT youth and allies program (Statistics You Should Know About Gay & Transgender Students). Also “About two-thirds of LGBT students reported having ever been sexually harassed (e.g., sexual remarks made, being touched inappropriately) in school in the past year.” and that because of harassment and violence, “The average GPA for students who were frequently physically harassed because of their sexual orientation was half a grade lower than that of other students.” Reported that same website.

One of the worst parts however, is that even though students don’t feel safe at school anymore, they should at least be able to have a home to go to. For many LGBT teenagers, this is not the case.

You see, teenagers are often kicked out of their homes for being LGBT. 62% of homeless gay and transgender youth experience discrimination from their families In fact, according to a study done by the Williams institute at the University of California at Los Angeles in 2011-2012 found that “about 40 percent of homeless young people served by agencies identify as LGBT, many because they have been rejected by their families on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.” There are approximately 1.6 million to 2.8 million homeless young people the US. If you do the math that is about 320,000 to 400,000 LGBT homeless young people.In New York, the average age that gay and lesbian youth become homeless is around 14 years old while the average for the transgender youth in New York end up homeless is around 13 ½ according to the Center of American Progress. According to that same center, 58% of homeless LGBT youth have been sexually assaulted while only 33% of heterosexuals homeless youth have been sexually assaulted, and as you can probably tell this is a pretty significant difference, a difference of 25% to be exact. 42% of homeless gay and transgender youth abuse alcohol and gay and transgender youth are 8.4 more times to attempt suicide if they are rejected by their families in adolescence compared to if they are not rejected by their family. They are also 5.9 times as likely to have experienced depression, 3.4 times as likely to have used illicit drugs, and 3.4 times as likely to have had unprotected sex. The Child welfare systems often fail to protect gay and transgender youth as the estimated cost to maintain a youth in the criminal justice system for one year is approximately $53,665 while it only costs $5,887 to permanently move a homeless youth off the streets and prevent them from re entering the criminal justice system.

Of course you have to look from the opposers’ eyes too.

It could be argued that in the Bible it says that homosexuality is wrong. In the book of Leviticus in the Bible (chapter 18, verse 22) it states “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination”. This quote from the Bible doesn’t need much explanation unless you don’t know the meaning of abomination, which in case you do not, means something of the nature of hatred or something that causes disgust and/or is wrong in its nature. That being said, if one’s main reason for being homophobic is religion (specifically Christianity) then Jesus in the bible said “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:31). Homosexuality is not considered in itself a sin according to a blog on religion but “nowhere are same-sex acts named as the sin of Sodom” (My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality). Also Paul the prophet and apostle, “used two other words to describe male-male sex: dishonorable (1:24, 26) and unseemly (1:27). But for Paul, neither carried ethical weight. In 2 Corinthians 6:8 and 11:21, Paul says that even he was held in dishonor — for preaching Christ. Clearly, these words merely indicate social disrepute, not truly unethical behavior.

In this passage Paul is referring to the ancient Jewish Law: Leviticus 18:22, the “abomination” of a man’s lying with another man. Paul sees male-male sex as an impurity, a taboo, uncleanness — in other words, “abomination.” Introducing this discussion in 1:24, he says so outright: "God gave them up … to impurity"”. But you see, in the Bible, Jesus taught that Jewish requirements for purity — varied cultural traditions — do not matter before God. What matters is the purity of heart.

Throughout this essay I have tried to explain to you why homophobia is a bad thing and how it hurts others.

Homophobia and transphobia are serious issues that affect the LGBT+ community. So do tell me, did I change your perspective on this important issue we deal with today? Or perhaps your answer to the questions that I asked when you first started reading this?

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