I will state unequivocally that I support equal rights for all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or age. Discrimination must not be tolerated in public institution or the workings of the market. If someone wishes to hold prejudiced views, that is their business, but when they express those views in ways that harm the lives and opportunities of others, a line has been crossed. We do not currently allow businesses to refuse service on the basis of race – so why is it permissible to do so on the basis of gender or sexual orientation? Freedom belongs to all Americans, LGBTQIA+ included.
At a minimum we need to pursue passage of the Equality Act and the Every Child Deserves a Family Act in order to combat discrimination against individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community. To ensure no courts or states can continue to infringe upon equal rights, I would further propose a 21st Century Equal Rights Amendment, particularly if the current version is not successfully revived. A Constitutional amendment which guarantees freedom from discrimination for all Americans on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation or preference, etc., would help bring to a close the latest chapter in the long civil rights struggle in the United States, and seems a worthy goal for a free society.
Health care options for LGBTQIA+ need to be improved, and of course the Medicare for All option would ensure that care could not be refused. It would also increase access to PReP, allow for easier gender-affirming transition treatments, and expand mental health options to reduce the currently high rate of suicide. Responding to the latter, we should also ensure students can attend school without fear of bullying, and provide counselling and resources for those who are questioning and exploring who they are. In addition, a large share of the youth homeless population are in the LGBTQIA+ community, and we need to provide resources to help these teens and young adults put their lives back on track.
No-one should be denied a job, denied housing, denied a bank loan, denied the right to adopt a child, or denied the right to serve in the military on the basis of sex, gender, or sexual orientation. We as a society must come grips with the science, the anthropology, and the history of sex and gender diversity, because diversity truly is the norm. That people have been forced into hiding, marginalized, ostracized, or killed for who they are throughout our history is a great crime, and we can begin to make up for that by extending a welcoming and accepting hand to everyone.
Image courtesy Lokal_Profil via Wikipedia Commons