by JESSICA MAHMOUD
Same-sex marriage is just the start of equality for the LGBTQ community.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in the United States, it has become a commonly held belief that the LGBTQ community has finally gained equal rights. In fact, on January 20th, GLAAD released their annual Accelerating Acceptance Report, which found that 50% of non-LGBT Americans strongly agree that gay people now have the same rights as everybody else.
While this may be a commonly held belief, it is anything but true. According to Pew Research Center, 39% of Americans still oppose same-sex marriage in 2015. With people opposing this ceremony that so many men and women easily participate in, it may feel to same-sex couples that their marriages are less valid than that of their straight counterparts. That feeling is only perpetuated when entire states, such as Tennessee, work to invalidate the legal decision made in Obergefell v. Hodges. In our society, marriage is seen as a very valuable aspect of defining love, that the typical man and woman have never had a problem participating it. Yet, with marriage being such an important part of American culture and equality, we need everyone on board and in favor of it.
The Atlantic reported that in 28 states, a gay individual could be discriminated against while looking for an apartment, applying for a job, or buying goods. For example, Queerty.com recently reported a transgender woman and her wife were denied housing when the landlord said “their ‘unique relationship’ would become a ‘town focus.'” Additionally, Arkansas Online recently reported that 22 states are pushing for the right to refuse serving gay couples. This is along the same lines as not baking same-sex couples wedding cakes because one does not support the same-sex marriage. Until one doesn’t have to hide their identity or their same-sex partner in doing these small things to support themselves, we don’t have equal rights.
After the passage of same-sex marriage, many people shifted their focus to the rights of the transgender community. One of the big issues facing the transgender community is exclusionary healthcare insurances. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, there are still 11 states that have explicit policies banning trans-exclusions in both private insurance and Medicaid coverage, thus making healthcare coverage extremely difficult to find for members of the transgender community. This is problematic since transgender individuals need this coverage the most, due to the surgeries and hormones they may use to transition.
At this point in American history, the LGBTQ community does not have equal rights. In order to help the LGBTQ community reach equality, individuals need to vote in the upcoming election for referendums and politicians who support LGBTQ equality. The results of the election can make a large impact for those in the LGBTQ community who must face inequality each day.
Jessica Mahmoud is a Journalism major with a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Studies minor. Her pronouns are she, her, hers, herself. As an aspiring activist, she hopes to use writing as an outlet to educate others.