April 14, 2013
Equality in the United States is something that many people of different races, ethnic groups, genders, gays, lesbians and transgender people have been striving to obtain for decades. Although this country has made great strides in equality, much more needs to be done, everyone on planet Earth deserves to be treated equally. Women in the United States were once believed best suited to remain at home, and take care of the children and household chores. Women felt obligated to marry, have as many children as their husbands dictated, have dinner on the stove, and the house cleaned when the husband came home, the old adage, “barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen” was the mindset. Now women are encouraged to work outside the home, economics being the main drive. Yet even with all the strides women have made in the last few decades, there is still discrimination and prejudice against women in the work place, they aren’t promoted as quickly as men if promoted at all (Herminia Ibarra, 2010), pay is lower than men working in the same positions (Fairchild, 2013), sexual harassment is common place. Men don’t believe women are as capable as themselves in performing the jobs that require mental or physical labor, but we know this not to be the case at all. Women are just as able to perform jobs that men are capable of, yet they are placed in subservient roles or in positions that make them “eye candy”. The masculine male is shown skydiving, riding 4 wheelers or big monster trucks, playing sports, and taking charge in the household while women are placed in a different scenario, the media promotes sexism on a daily basis, music videos show women as sex objects, news channels hire attractive women to gain more male viewers, women in politics are chastised (Groob, 2012), magazines have scantily clad women on the cover of sports, health and auto mechanics magazines to increase sales. Women are so much more than ‘eye candy”, they are human beings deserving of no less than their male counterparts. But women aren’t the only ones discriminated against. The gay and transgender community have been discriminated against for generations. Anyone who was attracted to a member of the same sex had to hide their true identity, often, gay men or lesbian women married members of the opposite sex just to appear as one of the “normal people” (personal knowledge), lesbian women had children, and they lived a life in the proverbial closet, afraid to come out to family or friends for fear of being fired, harassed, bullied, attacked, and shunned. I would imagine that it would have be loveless and unfulfilling relationship, and though things have gotten better, many are still afraid to come forward in today’s age due to the same fears. But things have improved for the GLBT community, laws have been passed that anyone arrested for beating, murdering or maiming a person for being homosexual will face hate crime charges (Pershing, 2009), in many states laws have been passed to stop discrimination of homosexuals or transgender people, adoption is allowed under the law, gay marriage is gaining approval among the American people. Though their rights are still infringed upon, strides are being made, many politicians have come forward proclaiming support of gay marriage, the military has repealed the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy (U.S. Department of Defense, 2011) that was once so prevalent in the United States military, allowing gay servicemen, and servicewomen to be who they were born to be. Yet there are still those who are still afraid to come forward and admit to the world that they are gay or lesbian. Especially in the sports world. Pro football, basketball, baseball or any such sport or occupation that demands an air of masculinity makes it difficult for a homosexual male to admit his desire, attraction, affection or love for another man. Many of their fellow players would feel uncomfortable being in huddles, the dugouts, and the showers (Outsports, 2002), simply because of someone’s sexual preference. They have the tendency to believe that because a player is gay or bi-sexual, that he may “hit” on, or be attracted to them simply because they are male as well. Homosexuals are no different than the straight community. We all have standards, preferences, and traits that arouse our interests, our desires, and not everyone falls within that category. Yet there lies a double standard among men concerning lesbian women, men have no qualms toward lesbians or bi-sexual women as long as they fall within the realm of “non-butch”. Attractive lesbians are considered a “God send”, and adored among straight males. Many want that experience, to be involved in a “ménage a trios” at least once in their lifetime before their death. Whereas; lesbians who fall outside that aspect of attractive or desirable are laughed at, scorned, called dyke, butch or other derogatory names. Many don’t consider homosexuals as normal, they consider them to be an abomination simply because a book, written by men, says that it is so (Slick, n.d.). Changes are being made, laws enacted, but those laws are constantly being challenged by those who feel that homosexuality is wrong. The Supreme Court of the United States is inundated with challenges to laws that have been passed by State and Federal Governments. Once a law has passed and signed by the ruling body, such as a Governor or President, immediately there are those who will take issue with the law or proposition, and immediately demand that the law be repealed. On November 4th, 2008, California voters overwhelmingly approved “proposition 8” which made same sex marriage illegal in the state, even though California’s state constitution had stated that it was a protected right. Yet two years later, the proposition was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge (Ballot Pedia, 2013). Naturally this created a stir, and serious debate nationwide, with others filing suit to have the “unconstitutional” verdict reversed. This case has wound its way through the court systems and finally reached the United States Supreme Court in 2013, yet the Justices, still have to make a ruling. Many states haves their eyes and ears open because the ruling will have an effect on any laws these states have enacted as well. As a people, as a human race, we need to learn to accept others for who they are, if we would learn tolerance and acceptance and realize that the GBLT community is no different than the straight community, then we may understand them better. We should stop using the bible as a crutch, but instead, use the brain God gave us. If we put ourselves in the shoes of homosexuals and transgender people, for just a day, we would realize the hardships they face; physically, mentally, and emotionally every day, and we might learn to just let them live the lives they want, just as the straight community does and hopefully within that experience we would learn not to discriminate against them or look down upon them. Some could be out closest or family members who have yet had the courage to come forward, and we slammed the door on them without realizing it. People have a right to be who they are, and what they wish to be. No one has the right to dictate the happiness of another, regardless of sexuality or gender. We are all humans, and all humans have a fundamental right to love, happiness, and prosperity. Whether gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, straight, male or female, we all deserve to be equal.
Ballot Pedia. (2013, April 4). California Proposition 8, the "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry" Initiative (2008). Retrieved from Ballot Pedia: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Proposition_8,_the_%22Eliminates_Right_of_Same-Sex_Couples_to_Marry%22_Initiative_(2008) Fairchild, C. (2013, April 9). Nearly 100 Percent Of American Women In Jobs That Typically Pay Men More: Analysis. Retrieved from Huffington Post Business: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/women-earn-less-than-men_n_3046461.html Groob, K. (2012, January 2). Sexism in the media: Year in Review. Retrieved from Feministing: http://community.feministing.com/2012/01/02/sexism-in-the-media-year-in-review/ Herminia Ibarra, N. M. (2010, September). Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review: http://hbr.org/2010/09/why-men-still-get-more-promotions-than-women/ar/1 Outsports. (2002, October 31). Gays as Lockerroom Predators: A Bogus Issue. Retrieved from SB.NATION: http://www.outsports.com/2013/3/6/4073856/gays-as-lockerroom-predators-a-bogus-issue Pershing, B. (2009, October 8). House Approves Hate-Crimes Measure as Part of Defense Funding. Retrieved from The Washington Post: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2009/10/house_approves_hate_crimes_mea.html?hpid=topnews Slick, M. (n.d.). What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Retrieved from CARM: http://carm.org/bible-homosexuality U.S. Department of Defense. (2011, September 20). DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL REPEALED. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Defense: http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0610_dadt/ Note: Personal Knowledge citation refers to one of my own. My biological father was gay, but hid that fact by marrying my Mom and having kids.