All people have rights

All people have rights

Magali Aguilar

People all over the country were able to come together to celebrate their identities, on Friday, Oct. 11.

National Coming Out Day is celebrated annually to raise LGBTQ awareness. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that the right to marry is guaranteed to same sex couples by the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This was a huge achievement for the LGBTQ community, but that hasn’t made its acceptance in society much easier.

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In 2018, a bakery in Colorado refused to provide a wedding cake for a gay couple based on the owner’s religious beliefs. The case went to the Supreme Court where it was decided in a 7 to 2 decision that the bakery owner had a right to deny service to the gay couple based on his First Amendment right to freely practice a religion.

Members of the LGBTQ community still have a long way to go before they fully obtain equal rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It prohibited racial segregation in schools, employment and public accommodations.

While racism is still seen in some aspects of society today, segregation isn’t as common as it used to be. Discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community happens more often than not. The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, is famous for riots that took place there in 1969 against police officers who raided gay bars. Violence against members of the LGBTQ community has not slowed down since the movement against it began. In June 2016, Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. To this day, it remains the deadliest incident of violence against LGBTQ people in U.S. history.

Acceptance of gay people has increased, but transgender people still receive a lot of hate and have a harder time being accepted into society. On Tuesday, Oct. 8, the Supreme Court heard arguments about whether gay and transgender people are covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is unclear whether or not discrimination based on sex applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.

A debate infamously known as the “bathroom debate” was one of the first to receive widespread attention regarding the rights of transgender people. It is commonly argued that people should be able to use whatever bathroom corresponds with their gender identity, but in February 2017, President Donald Trump revoked protections for transgender students to exercise that right.

This past August, Trump took a step toward legalizing transgender discrimination by telling the Supreme Court that federal law allows employers to fire workers solely for being transgender. The Justice Department says there is no federal law that offers protection to transgender workers who endure discrimination because of their gender identity. There was no consensus on what the word “sex” meant when it was used in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and courts have yet to determine how that term exactly applies to people who identify as transgender or members of the LGBTQ community.

The treatment of transgender people and all members of the LGBTQ community need to change.

Transgender people are human beings too. The way in which they choose to identify themselves should have no influence on whether or not they are able to fit into society as a “normal” person, able to obtain and keep a job, what bathroom they are allowed to use or any other activity that all people in this country perform on a regular basis.

People should be accepted regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, race, gender identity or any other aspect that makes up who they are.

In September, Bee Love Slater, a black, transgender 23-year-old from South Florida, was murdered. She is the 18th transgender person to be murdered in the United States this year according to the Washington Post, and the number is slowly, but dangerously increasing.

In Florida, the hate crime statute does not apply to people who are attacked because of their gender identity. However, people who are attacked for being gay are covered by the hate crime statute. This is unfair to people who are transgender or identify with a gender that people don’t accept.

YouTuber Trisha Paytas recently caused some controversy when she uploaded a video explaining that she is a transgender male because she does not fit feminine stereotypes. She called herself a gay man because she likes men but also identifies as a man.

Many people were offended by her statements, saying she should not be using such a sensitive topic for attention. Coming out as transgender or as a different gender identity than the one you were assigned at birth is not a joke, and it’s not something that should be said lightly.

Transgender people and all members of the LGBTQ community need to be accepted and treated like human beings. They are like everyone else and their gender identity and sexual orientation should have no influence on how they are treated or how they’re able to function in society.

It’s time that all members of the LGBTQ community receive equal treatment. They should not be targeted for being unique.