BY SADIE BARKER
Today’s society has come a long way from what it was even 50 years ago. However, despite the progress, there are still many inequalities in the world. Many minorities today, such as the LGBTQ+ community, still lack some of the rights a majority of the population experiences. It is my belief that laws that prevent the LGBTQ+ community from having the same rights as others should be removed, and new laws should be instituted to protect those people from discrimination.
An example of one of these laws is the HB 1057 bill passed in South Dakota. This law prevents transgender youths from having access to estrogen, testosterone, gender reassignment surgeries, or other operations to help them fully transition. Laws like these can lead to higher rates of gender dysphoria, which can further lead to a higher suicide rates among transgender youths.
Other than higher suicide rates among transgender youths, other members of the LGBTQ+ community are being denied or fired from the their jobs because of their sexuality or gender. According to USA Today, “About… 52% [of LGBTQ+ people] live in states where they could be fired, nixed for a promotion, refused training or harassed at their jobs… because of their gender identity and sexual orientation.” In this case, there are no laws that prevent this from happening, and as a result, people in the LGBTQ+ community may have a harder time finding a job.
Finally, in some states, health care providers have the right to not serve certain people, such as LGBTQ+ people, if it goes against their morals. Specifically in the SB 109 bill passed in South Dakota, it states that “A health care provider has the right not to participate in any health care service that violates the provider’s conscience… [they] may not be discriminated against if the provider exercises this right.” This bill could endanger the lives of LGBTQ+ people if the doctor that could help them refuses to help them.
Some may argue that these laws are fair, and that people should be allowed to not provide a service, job, or care to another person based on their opinions. However, with the Coronavirus pandemic going on today, more LGBTQ+ Americans are facing more and more discrimination, especially when it comes to healthcare. According to USA Today, “LGBTQ people are struggling with unemployment, homelessness and food insecurity compared with other Americans, while simultaneously facing increased rates of health issues.” I don’t think it’s fair that people in the LGBTQ+ community have a higher chance of dying just because of their sexual orientation or gender.
To help solve this issue of these unfair laws, or lack of protective laws, it is important for us to advocate for their destruction or creation. If an unfair bill is in the process of being made, write a letter to your state’s governor about your concerns about the bill, or hold a protest against the bill. You can also help create new bills to protect the LGBTQ+ community by proposing a bill to your local governor or state governor. Otherwise, you can advocate for bills in the making to be passed.
All of these laws, or lack thereof, drastically decrease the quality of life of LGBTQ+ people in the United States. It’s important that we fight to help combat these bills or help create new ones that will protect future generations of the community.