LGBTQ+ Rights Are Human Rights
November 22, 2022
Transgender Awareness Week, observed from November 13 – 19 memorializes victims of transphobic violence ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20). According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), there have already been at least 32 fatalities in the American transgender community this year. Whether or not someone accepts a transgender individual, they exist, and transphobia contributes to the fatal victimization of transgender persons.
On Saturday, November 19, 2022, Anderson Lee Aldrich opened fire at LGBTQ+ club, Club Q in Colorado Springs. Armed with automatic weapons, Aldrich wounded at least 25 people and killed 5 (at the time of publishing). At this time, it’s unclear what his motive was, as he hasn’t explicitly disclosed it. However, it is clearly understood that he knowingly opened fire at an LGBTQ+ nightclub, a stronghold in the queer community of Colorado Springs.
Once again, regardless of whether or not someone accepts an LGBTQ+ individual, they exist, and prejudice against them contributes to their fatal victimization.
Social attitudes towards LGBTQ+ communities
Political commentary has been increasingly anti-LGBTQ+ over the past year. In light of recent elections, “Culture war issues like abortion and trans rights are shaping midterm elections,” according White House Correspondent, Michael Collins. While the politics of these issues are discussed regularly, the fact of the matter is that LGBTQ+ people are human beings, meaning the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes them too. Their rights are also human rights.
Jefferson M Fish Ph.D. makes a case for the differences between tolerance, acceptance, and understanding for Psychology Today in context of “everyday life and in research”. In his assertions, he acknowledges that tolerance, acceptance, and understanding aren’t mutually exclusive, but rather one is a graduation of thought from the former. Dr Fish goes on to explain, “Tolerance and/or acceptance are desirable, but they are not a substitute for understanding.”
This isn’t to say that raging homophobes will be swayed with “hearts and minds” content. However, “According to a survey conducted in 2022, 71 percent of respondents from the United States stated that gay or lesbian relations were morally acceptable.” While this is the outcome of Statistica’s research, the violence experienced by the LGBTQ communities, both socially and politically, leaves little to be desired.
How to go about acceptance in society
As such, it’s fair to conclude that while a spirit of tolerance and/or acceptance is a decent (albeit rudimentary) place to start, in order for LGBTQ+ rights to be protected, the world needs to do a better job of understanding. There’s a plethora of resources available to better understand the LGBTQ+ community. Books, research, and the like are the more academic way to seek information. Researching information is as easy as visiting a human rights organization’s website, Google searching “Understanding the LGBTQ community” or asking community organizers. More socially accessible and entertaining, however, are creative works like television series, and dramatic performances. Take Emmy winning shows like Pose or iconic documentaries like Paris Is Burning, for examples of good creative content that we can learn from.
Regardless of how we seek understanding, it’s important that we do. All human beings have human rights, and the members of the LGBTQ+ community share in those rights just as much as cisgender heterosexual people.
*Featured image sourced from CNN
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