LGBT rights

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The LGBT rights movement is a social force consisting of people interested in removing the social stigma from homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism, and allowing gay and trans people to be equal participants in society with the same rights as others. Despite arguments to the contrary, there is no homosexual agenda,[1] nor is there a trans mafia, a lesbian occupation force, or any other vast LGBT conspiracy to undermine society as we know it.


[edit] Gay and lesbian rights

The gay rights movement does not seek to convince others that homosexuality is morally right: rather, it seeks to prove that it is not wrong enough to regulate, criminalize, or stigmatize, and also to prove that gays are valuable members of society who deserve no different treatment.

Gay rights activists make one of two arguments:

  1. Homosexuality is an immutable trait, and discriminating against immutable traits is wrong (cf. race discrimination), or,
  2. Homosexuality, if not immutable, is highly correlated with personality, and discriminating against such deeply rooted notions of self is wrong (cf. religious intolerance).

[edit] Legal success

Courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, have accepted either one or both of these rationales. In Romer v. Evans, the Court found that discriminating against homosexuals could only be explained by a rational of animus laid bare, which was not enough even to allow state condemnation of homosexuality under the rational basis review test. Romer, then, protects the status of homosexuality from undue discrimination that occurs without a rational basis.[2]

Homosexual conduct was formerly illegal in many states.[3] In the last decade of the twentieth century, although these laws existed, they were rarely (if ever) enforced.[4] Without disclosing whether it saw homosexuality as a status protected from discrimination at as high of a level as gender and race, the Court struck down bans on homosexual conduct, framing it as an expansion of its privacy jurisprudence.[5]

The status of homosexuality before the law, then, is in some degree of flux. While bare discrimination against homosexual status is facially unconstitutional lacking a rational basis, and while preventing homosexual conduct is similarly unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held in these landmark cases that the state may discriminate against homosexuals to preserve an "institution that the law protects" - namely, marriage.[6] As such, the standard to be applied in deciding if discrimination against homosexuals is wrong is somewhere in between rational basis review and strict scrutiny review. Justice Antonin Scalia thinks that this uncertainty will surely be resolved in the favor of gay rights, and he warns that such a legal erosion will result in the downfall of the law's moral authority.[7] Surely, society will end shortly thereafter.

There have been similar successes in other countries, some greater, some less.[more detail please]

[edit] Transgender rights

Like in the gay rights movement, trans rights advocates argue that some or all transgender identities deserve dignity and respect. However, a major difficulty is that the vast majority of people are unfamiliar as to what transgender or transsexual exactly mean, though most find it easy to get what homosexuality entails. Since much of the recent success of the gay rights movement on the popular level is due to a simplification of message, the vast cultural ignorance of transgender people makes it generally harder to advance trans rights and dignities. This is further compounded by the fact that rabidly anti-LGBT religious organizations tend to consider transgender people "super-gays."[8] The sheer number of different trans identities is daunting to most people who've lived in the gender binary their entire lives, presenting yet another obstacle to understanding.

[edit] Successes

By and large, trans people are erased and ignored from the rich history of LGBT advancement, and a large part of this is due to transphobia among prominent gay leaders and activists who seek to excise the T from the famous acronym.

In the United States, trans people have most if not all of their rights and protections as a result of legislative action at the local or state level. There has been only one important Supreme Court case regarding gender identity, which, far from deciding anything specific, merely left the question of gender nonconformity discrimination in employment open.[9] As such, sixteen states, Washington, D.C. and several municipalities outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression in areas such as employment, housing and public accommodations (hotels, bathrooms, etc.).

Worldwide, the extent of trans advancement and rights varies considerably. Generally, countries with more gay protections have more trans protections, and countries with few to no gay rights have few to no trans rights. South Africa is by far the most advanced African nation on LGBT rights; oddly enough, Iran boasts criminalization of homosexuality but not of transsexualism. Many U.S. states are as backward as many "third-world" countries when it comes to gay and trans rights.

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Well, there is, but there's a rigorous training program and a strict selection process, so you probably won't qualify.
  2. Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620
  3. See generally Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186
  4. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, Justice Anthony Kennedy, in the Opinion of the Court, found this in his historical analysis.
  5. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558
  6. Lawrence v. Texas; Kennedy & O'Connor both reached this conclusion explicitly.
  7. Lawrence v. Texas, Scalia, J., dissenting.
  8. Commentary by Autumn Sandeen
  9. See Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989)
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