September 21, 2012
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ALTERNATIVE SEXUALITIES AND EQUAL JUSTICE
Individuals who express an alternative sexuality or orientation face discrimination in their daily lives. They experience disparities in basic right and liberties, parenting/adoption, relationships and marriage. Youths in school who express an alternative sexuality are harassed for being different and transgender people experience harassment as well. Even in the military, these individuals experience discrimination. Therefore, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was put in place to protect gays and lesbians. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) individuals are unique and have unique needs in terms of civil justice and equality. The LGBT population comprises a diverse community with health concerns, civil liberty needs and family planning anxieties. They must also deal with paranoia, isolation, depression, and others being homophobic due to their sexual orientation. The issues surrounding personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation can place a significant burden on mental as well as physical health for those in the LGBT community. (Clarke, 2010). Some individuals go as far as contemplating suicide to actually completing suicide because they feel they are less worthy than people of heterosexuality. If these individuals were more accepted in society, more information would be attainable to increase programs to meet the unique needs in these communities. LGBT people must deal with prejudice and discrimination when trying to obtain health care in hospitals and certain religious-based clinics and hospitals. (Sember, 2006). In the LGBT community, sexually transmitted diseases are often more widespread than in communities where the LGBT population is lower. Currently in the United States, blood donation centers will not accept blood donated by gay and bisexual men. The same goes for men who have ever had even one sexual experience or contact with other men. Gay and bisexual men are excluded regardless of their individual sexual histories or HIV risk. Current policy establishes different standards for behaviors that pose similar (or greater) risk of HIV transmission; it has been criticized, as stigmatizing and discriminatory to gay and bisexual men. (HHS, 2012). Currently, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is conducting studies to examine the policy banning gay and bisexual men from donating blood. HHS(2012) has stated, “When these studies are complete, the Department is committed to a full evidence-based evaluation of the policy. If the data indicate that a change is possible while protecting the blood supply, we will consider a change to the policy.” (HHS, 2012)
Until these studies are complete, the HHS will not consider the remote chance that a gay or bisexual man can donate blood. Literature Review
One issue of contention in the LGBT community is the issue of raising and/or adopting children. LGBT individuals and couples become parents in a variety of ways, including adoption, foster parenting, donor insemination, surrogacy, and having children from previous heterosexual relationships. The law governing family relationships varies significantly from state-to-state. (American Civil Liberties Union, 2012). Currently, in the United States, Utah, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana have laws where same sex couples are barred from doing joint and/or second parent adoptions. Nebraska, Utah, and Mississippi have laws barring same-sex couples from even being a foster parent. (American Civil Liberties Union, 2012). Being there is a lack of loving, stable foster homes in America, it would be beneficial to these states to allow LGBT couples or individuals to foster children and provide stable homes for these children. Some people believe that children of homosexual...