Moving Forward from Marriage Equality
Do we really have complete equality?
We won, right? It’s over. SCOTUS gave us marriage equality. The war has been won, and the victory is officially ours.
Well, not quite. It’s a huge leap forward, there’s no doubt about that. It’s something we’re all grateful for, too. The war is far from over, though.
Marriage equality finally brings us the unalienable spousal rights that heterosexuals have enjoyed for eons. What it does not do is give us complete equality.
There are still stacks of discriminatory bills that support bigotry aimed at the LGBT community; the trans community is especially targeted. Loss of employment because of how we dress or identify or our spouse’s gender, refusal of goods and services because the vendor thinks we might be gay…proof that intolerance is still alive and well here in the US.
LGBTs of color are equally targeted. Minority LGBTS who have faced prejudice because of our pigmentation and our orientation/identity, have had more than their fair share of it. Segregation, sexism, racism, the KKK, the riots, and countless more – all of it demonstrating the struggle of minorities. Add to that the hatred and ignorance towards the LGBT community, and that is a level of bias that is beyond overwhelming.
Friends, neighbors, even family members: people that we all know and love – all being glared at, spat on, forced to leave certain places or events, being brutally attacked (the list is endless, really) - all because their skin has a darker hue. The statistics for violence against LGBTs of color are staggering. Recent statistics show that over the last few years, three quarters or more of all attacks on LGBTs are on LGBTs of color. Minority LGBTs are exponentially (double or greater) at a higher risk of suffering a violent attack. These are not incidents from the south during the era of segregation. This continues in full swing in 2015, across the country.
The reality is that marriage equality gave us just that. We now share the same rights as married couples as our hetero counter parts. The LGBT community still does not have full and equal rights. We get paid less; we can lose our jobs because someone suspects we might be gay or trans or whatever have you; violence and homelessness in our youth and adult communities are exponentially greater than the national average; conversion therapy and mutilation still exist – there is so much more progress to be made. The victory in marriage equality was a sweet one, nothing can ever detract from that. We need to use that victory to propel our community further ahead so that we can achieve full equality and citizenship.
Prejudice can never be fully eradicated. Hate will always find a way to replicate. We can counter it, though. As long as there is hope, as long as there is love, as long as there is unity, as long as there is strength and resiliency, we will win. It might take time, but it is possible. The Supreme Court ruling has just given all members of the LGBT community – especially members of color – a greater leg up on complete equality.