Lee 1″We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference,and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity ofhumanity” (Goodreads 2018). This is a quote from George Takei who joined theLGBT equality movement. LGBT is the abbreviated form that collectivelyindicates lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or simply sexual minorities.
LGBT is an unremitting contentious issue in several countries around the world.Sexual minorities have been suffering both mentallyand physically due to discrimination. LGBT people have limited choice in dailylives including marriage and military service. The freedom that is inherently granted is not allowed forthem and their basic human rights are being threatened. Sexual minorities are the same with the others.
Theyare our neighbors and the citizens residing in the same society. Thus, there isno doubt that they must be given the same rights as any other individuals. A Pew Research survey of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual,and transgender) is based on the Americans’ perceptions on discrimination. Anew nationally representative survey of 1,197 LGBT adults answered that theyfelt they have been traumatized by the society. According to statistic, “Aboutfour-in-ten” (39%) say that at some point in their lives, they were rejected bya family member or close friend because of their sexual orientation or genderidentity; 30% say that they have been physically attacked or threatened; 29%say that they are mostly unwelcomed in a place of worship; and 21% say thatthey have been treated unfairly by an employer. About six-in- ten” (58%) saythat they’ve been the target of slurs or jokes. (A PewResearch Center 2013) Thesestatistics represent how many homosexuals are discriminated in various ways.
Lee 2Nowadays, some countries have adopted federal laws regardinggay marriage and are becoming increasingly supportive with LGBT rights. Despitethe developments regarding homosexuality, life is actually getting more severefor LGBT people, especially for those who are living in Russia, Yemen, Iran,and Eastern Europe. Although “Marriage” is a basic right that is given toeveryone in the world, it is not allowed for homosexuals. For example, Russia isone of the worst countries for LGBT people to inhabit. According to figure 1, “aboutthree-quarters of Russians don’t think same sex marriage should be accepted by society”(Pew Research Center, 2013).
In addition to the Russian public’s reluctancetoward homosexual marriage, Russian government has passed a law which bans gay”propaganda” on June 29. In Russia, gay teenagers are being tortured and forciblyouted on the internet against a backdrop of laws that look completely out ofstep with the rest of Europe. In what is being described as rolling the”status of LGBT lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people back tothe Stalin era”, President Putin has passed a number of anti-gay laws,including legislation that punishes people and groups that distributeinformation considered “propaganda of non-traditional sexualrelations”. The country also now has powers to arrest and detain foreigncitizens believe to be gay, or “pro-gay” (Saner 2013). Even now, Russian public’s perception toward LGBTpeople is apparently negative. Discrimination and violent action against sexualminorities are extremely pervasive in Russia. It is hard for LGBT people toexpect marriage or impartial treatment in Russia, and it is predicted to takelonger time to enhance the situation.
Lee 3Homosexualdiscrimination can be found in military services as well. American LGBT peoplecan serve in military services today, but sexual discrimination and unfairdischarge from the military was a common issue in the past. In 1993, BillClinton signed a law called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), which was themilitary service law for adopted for LGBT people. DADT policy was practiced for17 years until the presidency of Barack Obama in 2011.
It started with goodpurpose, but the conditions for LGBT soldiers didn’t improve. Approximately13,650 LGBT soldiers were forcefully discharged from the military. This lawstates that the homosexuals who are serving in the military are not permitted toreveal their sexual orientation and commanding officers are not authorized toask any soldiers’ sexual orientation. LGBT soldiers were allowed to serve inthe military if they kept silence, but they still suffered emotional distressfrom hiding their identity. They claimed that their freedom of equality hasbeen threatened. Representatively, Katherine Miller was an elite in US MilitaryAcademy (West Point), but she renounced her academic life because she was tiredof hiding homosexuality.
She is just one of the victims of “Don’t Ask, Don’tTell” policy. Today, LGBT soldierdiscrimination in military has not been completely solved. “Everyone knows that gays haveserved honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar. Youdon’t need to be ‘straight’to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight” (Goldwater).Throughout history, it has been proven that the potential of LGBT soldiers arelimitless. Homosexuality cannot be a reason to discriminate and drag them down. In modern society, LGBT people arebeing discriminated for different reasons including religion, legal, social,and cultural history of the nation.
There are a number of people Lia4who detesthomosexuals, commonly known as”Homophobes”. They discriminate and do not accept homosexuals andhomosexuality. One famous example of homophobes is Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Homosexualswere one of the targeted groups by the Nazis, and were persecuted and torturedfor no reason.
The only reason that homosexuals were eliminated during thatperiod was because Hitler hated them for being different from the others. However,there is no logical reason for them to be disrespected and disdained.Currently,homosexuality is still illegal in 76 countries around the world. Is it rationalto discriminate and contempt them just for being different? In the phrase “life,liberty, and pursuit of happiness”, it is clear that everyone has the freedomto pursue happiness.
There must be more policies like DADT and UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights, which support the sexual minorities. LGBTconflicts are no longer individual problems, but a global concern. “The rightsof homosexual people are human rights, and human rights are for everyone,” saidRicky Martin. Discrimination, regardless of the reason, should no longer be athreat and obstacle in LGBT people’s lives.