Everyone should be entitled to love who they want and embrace their identity, and yet 83% of LGBT people hide their sexual orientation, 350 transgender murders occurred in 2020, and LGBT youth are four times more likely to seriously consider suicide, plan suicide, and attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Despite advancements for the LGBT community, a few being the legalization of same-sex marriage in all fifty states and The Equality Act, there is still a lot of work to be done. While rights are important and protect LGBT people legally, they do not eliminate discrimination, and that is the root of the problem. For instance, The Equality Act is meant to protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, jury duty, and federally funded programs, such as those for health and education. Yet, due to bias and stigma, LGBT youth are more likely to experience bullying and violence in schools, which can lead to substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behaviors, mood disorders, and feeling it is unsafe to come out. These alarming facts make it clear that eliminating discrimination and LGBT stigma is the key to creating an inclusive space for all. That's no easy task but a worthwhile one all the same.
What can I do about this?
1. To support LGBT people and curb discrimination, it is important to educate oneself to recognize any potential biases. Being aware of them is the first step to changing them. Additionally, educating oneself should also extend to terminology so that proper language is being used in regards to the LGBT community and when addressing an individual's identity. This promotes inclusivity.
2. Another way to help is by supporting LGBT activists and organizations. Helping these organizations makes the voices of the LGBT community louder and allows them to be heard, promoting their rights and bringing awareness to important issues. Some organizations also look for volunteers. One group to consider helping is The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBT youth.