This month, across the nation, rainbow tutus pranced through the streets. Some of us donned color and marched alongside. Some of us were uncomfortable.
The first gay pride parade was in June 1970, one year after the Stonewall Riots where NYPD officers clashed with the gay and trans community in Greenwich Village. Another forty-nine years of clashing, and we are still a nation divided on whether someone can be born in the wrong body. We are still reluctant of those who love and look outside the norm.
Everyone, no matter their labels, has an opinion on the LGBTQ+ community and the juxtaposition of pride parade cheer with the hatred following a few blocks behind is jarring.
Whether you agree with their existence or not, LGBTQ+ people now have the same legal rights as everyone else. At times disapproval seems to hang higher than rainbow flags, but research shows our nation’s acceptance is growing.
“More than six in ten (62%) Americans say they have become more supportive toward transgender rights compared to their views five years ago,” states a June 11 survey from Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization.
Note, that survey also reports about 25% of Americans say they are less supportive than they were five years ago.
“Currently, more than six in ten (61%) Americans say gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry legally, while only about half as many (30%) are opposed,” states a PRRI study from May 2018.
It has been nearly 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, which put gay rights on the map, and though there’s been an influx of support, the minority’s push back on gay and trans people still causes deep ripples of pain.
Nearly 40% of the homeless youth population is gay or trans, a 2012 UCLA School of Law study found. This is the result of many parents casting off their kids simply for being LGBTQ+.
Wedding cake businesses are still able to deny homosexual couples service. Remember how the Supreme Court sided with that Colorado baker last year? Well similar cases are still crowding our judicial system today. The president and other lawmakers are trying to ban trans people from the workplace and military. Some religious leaders still encourage followers to view LGBTQ+ people synonymous with sin.
All of this encourages a cycle of discrimination and hate that bleeds down to our children, some of who are taught to use gay slurs to poke fun at their friends.
Like floods of gay New Yorkers to Greenwich streets, LGBTQ+ news crowds our feeds. With all the turmoil the gay and trans community faces, from disownment by family to hate crimes by strangers, the least we can do is let them be. Give them the streets for a month, bake their wedding cakes because it’s your job to do so and go about your day, giving them the privilege to go about theirs in peace.
LGBTQ+ people have been around since straight people have and, whether open or not, they are in every neighborhood in every country. Oftentimes, we don’t think to treat them differently until they publicly don a label we don’t like. Don’t you see the flaw in that way of thinking?
We should support the LGBTQ+ community, even if we can’t relate, because who someone else loves or how someone else identifies, truthfully has zero effect on our lives. What right do we have to say that someone’s a sin because they feel differently than we do? We should be spreading good to others, whether they are like us or not.
The sooner we accept that we share this world with all sorts of people, and that diversity is what makes us strong, the sooner we can advance as a society. That acceptance is a cross easier to bear than one wrapped in barbs of hate.
So if you haven’t yet, consider letting go and accepting that the world we live in now includes gay and trans people proud to be who they are.