American society still battling homophobia

Khadija Ceesay, Reporter

June 12, 2016, was considered one of the darkest days for the LGBTQ community when an armed security guard shot and killed innocent people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. It was dismissed as a terrorist attack by many, but some failed to look into the real problem.

Even though America has made efforts to become a country that accepts difference, such as the Supreme Court ruling same-sex marriage to be protected by U.S. Constitution in every state, not everyone has come to fully accept and recognize it. In fact, ever since the ruling was made, there has been growing tension for many as threats and violence was turned towards the LGBTQ community.

Calling things “gay” as a sort of insult has become an even bigger trend, and actual gay people become offended because now it’s seen as a “playful” joke.

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) gives an annual survey to LGBTQ youth and came back with sad results.

Sadly, 90 percent of youth who were surveyed reported hearing “that’s so gay,” and it continued in schools due to teachers’ often keeping quiet or making the comments themselves at school.

The LGBTQ youth have been more likely to miss school due to feeling “unsafe” or “unwanted”.

Surveys also show that 20 to 40 percent of homeless youth may be LGBTQ due to coming out to family and or friends.

Transgender youth are one third more likely to be sexually harassed just because they are deemed “weak” and different, and 64 percent of gay youth reported feeling uneasy at school, having to carry weapons for protection and enduring physical harassment.

Some states have some policies that protect students from bullying and harassment based on race, color, sex, disability, etc., but the rules barely do enough to save them.

In many countries, homosexuality is seen as a crime that can only be resolved by death and extreme punishment. In countries like Sudan and Mauritania, people automatically receive the death penalty for being gay.

People have been killed or hospitalized in America due to injuries from individuals who do not believe in equality for all and that being gay is not a choice.

A person does not wake up and decide to be gay; it is simply a feeling that one cannot help and develops over time. Transgenders feel the same way as they are more comfortable being one gender than the other.

Why belittle others who cannot help what they are?

We should learn to either accept or to encourage everyone to be who they are instead of making them out to be anything but human.

Homophobia still exists despite the recent events, and it will always exist until people see that they don’t have to agree with everything to accept it.

Just understanding an individual is enough to make that person feel more comfortable in his or her environment.

Understanding is the way to acceptance.