I chose to talk about human rights for LGBT folks, as it’s a subject near and dear to my heart.
I got involved in this network primarily because of the legislation that exists in the US and many other countries which prevents gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks from being able to do the same things that a heterosexual person can do. This ranges from healthcare, benefits, employment rights, rights to marriage, taxes – and that is just in the US. In some countries people can get the death sentence because they are in love with a person of the same sex. It amazes me. Why should someone’s sexual orientation require them to be treated differently? The map below shows LGBTI rights around the world. It really shocks me.
Photo source: http://ilga.org/
Its not just a matter of legislation. For many people the inequality comes from having to hide a part of their life due to a fear of how their community/workplace/friends and family will react. Back in February 2008, Lawrence King an eight grade boy, was murdered by a class mate. Hehad asked his friend to be his valentine, this lead to him getting shot by the same friend. Whattype of world do we live in, when showing your love gets you killed, when there’s so much homophobia that even an eighth grader is so frightened that he shoots a fellow classmate?
Small wins happen in the fight for GLBT rights, but for every win there seems to be a set back somewhere else. Last year Oregon finally managed to get the Domestic Partnership bill into effect, however, the fight continues today to keep it there, due to concerns of an appeal. If Domestic Partnerships are removed, it voids any domestic partnerships that have already been registered in the state of Oregon.
Its quite hard for me to keep this short, as there’s so many things that I want to say, but instead I will just give a few suggestions of things that that anyone can do that will make a difference.
- Find out more about what’s happening in your community.
- Know your local legislation.
- Walk in, or attend your towns Pride Parade.
- Stand up against homophobic slurs.
If you are interested, here's some sources for more information: