Pride Month and the Crises the LGBTQ+ Community Face in 2021
By Georgia I. Salvaryn
The month of June is dedicated to celebrating Pride and the LGBTQ+ community. Pride is a time of acceptance, love, and jubilation. But amidst the happiness, parades, and events, there is a crisis at hand.
ABCs: “Anti-” Bills Crises
Back in April, hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills were filed in state legislatures across the nation. According to the Human Rights Campaign, several bills have already been enacted, and 10 more are on governors’ desks. (NBC)
Leave it to the conservative Republican party to discriminate and spread hate against the LGBTQ+ community.
In a news conference, Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign stated the bills “attempt to erase transgender people and attempt to make LGBTQ people second-class citizens.”
David also noted that 2021 will “become the worst year for state legislative attacks against the LGBTQ people in history;” the previous record held in 2015 with 15 anti-LGBTQ bills enacted into law.
It is hard for me to accept the fact that we are in 2021 and still face these obstacles and societal harm.
“Just to underscore the severity of these bills and the dangerous threshold we are about to cross: If these bills are enacted, it would mean that states will have enacted more anti-LGBTQ bills this year alone than in the last three years combined,” David said.
At least eight anti-LGBTQ bills have been passed this year, mostly targeting transgender minors. (NBC)
Other bills that have been passed target trans minors who seek transition care, such as puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery. Another bill allows state-funded student groups at universities to discriminate against LGBTQ+ students.
“All of these bills are dangerous and harmful to LGBTQ people, and many of them have particularly singled out some of the most vulnerable in our community, which are transgender youth,” David said.
However, a few governors–Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson (Republican), for example–have already vetoed some legislation as a result of advocates’ efforts to provide elected officials with facts about trans medical care and the potential negative economic effects of passing these bills.
It is important to note that some Republican lawmakers may veto and oppose these bills because they are being informed with the facts; grassroots activism and advocacy groups are doing the work to enlighten them.
During the news conference, Jasmine Banks, the founder of the queer and trans advocacy group Reconcile Arkansas, said, “This is one of those moments in history where we’re putting these folks on notice and we’re saying, ‘We are the people who put you in those positions of power, and if you continue to leverage your attacks on our communities, you will no longer be in those positions. We will move you out of those leadership positions.’”
Dr. Robert Garofalo, division chief of adolescent medicine at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, also attended the conference and said medical organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association oppose the bans against trans medical care and support affirming care for trans youth. (NBC)
“We know that gender-affirming care is best practice and to think otherwise just flies in the face of all available scientific evidence,” Garofalo said.
Religion & Rights
Recently, the Supreme Court sided with Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia after they declined to consider same-sex couples as foster parents.
The group said its views on same-sex marriage keep them from screening these couples as potential foster parents.
According to a USA Today article, “the unanimous decision opened a debate about its impact in other areas of the law where the First Amendment’s protection of religion comes into conflict with policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The City of Philadelphia, which contracted with the Catholic group, countered that all of its foster agencies are required not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. (USA Today)
In South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem signed a religious freedom bill that opens the door to discrimination against LGBTQ people. Governor Hutchinson signed a similar bill allowing doctors to refuse to treat someone due to their religious and moral beliefs. (NBC)
I always found it ironic that religious groups, specifically Christians, tend to push the “love thy neighbor as thyself” narrative but at the same time have an anti-LGBTQ, antisemitism, xenophobic sentiment. It is quite the oxymoron.
So what happens now?
With these bills and the results of Fulton v. Philadelphia with the argument to be made about the First Amendment, this could give religious-affiliated hospitals and schools the ability to discriminate and refuse treatment or the inclusion of members of the LGBTQ+ community. (USA Today)
Nevertheless, the people in the LGBTQ+ community have persisted and will continue to fight for our equality, rights, and freedoms that we deserve not just as citizens but as human beings.
A Gay Celebration
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I am excited to take part in the festivities! And with less COVID restrictions and outdoor social gatherings like parades, it is important for members and supporters to celebrate Pride this year.
Even as the trans community–and the LGBTQ+ community at large–face endless discrimination and trauma, we continue to persevere and still find joy.
According to the USA Today article LGBTQ joy is more important than ever this Pride 2021. Here’s why: “Experts say [perseverance and joy] are inextricably linked, and putting emphasis on LGBTQ joy this Pride month is especially crucial given the wave of persecution against the community.”
Joy has kept our spirit alive and has allowed the LGBTQ+ community to thrive during Pride month. Let us spread joy this year and show our friends, allies, and supporters our pride!
Georgia Iris Salvaryn
is a writing intern for Quade Media who loves utilizing her creativity whenever the opportunity arises. She received her BA in Jounrnalism from Montclair State University and is currently pursuing an MA in Writing at Rowan University. You can read more of her work and about her writer’s journey on her website.