Eleven years ago, it was Massachusetts that made the first move against the law banning gay marriage. When a transgender or gay person presents their identity to society and decides to pursue their aspirations, they are often denied and forced to conform to society’s standards and beliefs. “Despite five decades of progress, equality is not within reach, and often not even within sight, for all persons impacted by violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the United States,” said Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Every day there is news about people being beaten or harassed because said individuals are gay or transgender. In today's society, it matters much more who people decide to love than who they can become or what they can offer. In this reality, never being enough is becoming almost normal. The transgender community faces scrutiny regarding their gender expression, sexual orientation,. These individuals face a world that is battling against them while they are simply living their truth.
Transgender is a commonly-used term for people who do not identify with their birth sex, so their gender identity or expression is different. Gender identity refers to one's own inner understanding instead the expression of gender that is shown externally. “Gender identity and sexual orientation are different aspects of identity. Everyone has a gender identity and sexual orientation, but a person's gender does not determine a person's sexual orientation. Transgender people can identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or none of the above,” according to the CDC.
Not all states are accepting this change; for example, Florida and Texas are still in retrograde. According to Governor Greg Abbott, “In late February, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared that gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth should be classified as child abuse.” Abbott then directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate families that are supporting and seeking care for their trans children, turning a state agency that is supposed to protect children into a body actively promoting their harm. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill into law. The bill bars teachers from creating a safe and welcoming classroom environment for gay or transgender students. It prevents teachers from talking about LGBTQ+ issues, history, or people. Under this law, parents are allowed to directly sue a school district if they believe that a teacher has violated this law. A multitude of companies have fired back in support of the students. Ben and Jerry’s stated,“Florida students have led walkouts in opposition to the legislation, and more than 150 companies (including us) have come out against it.”
It is easy to identify as an ally, but the label alone is not enough. Oppression does not take breaks. To be an effective ally, people need to be willing to stay consistent in their support of LGBTQ+ rights and defend LGBTQ+ people against discrimination.
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