LGBTQ movements are social movements that aim at providing individuals with different sexual preferences the rights enjoyed by heterosexual people. LGBTQ stands for equality of humans and must be treated as an important affair
Keywords: LGBT, homophiles, morals
Every individual is born equal and unique. All humans are born with different tendencies and each develops new ones in their lifetime. A person’s individuality depends on these tendencies. Some of them, especially the acquired ones are in the control of the individuals while the others are an expression of his or her genetic constitution. Sexuality is one such tendency and it is indeed a highly personal and subjective affair. Society is built to accept only the natural form of sexuality that is heterozygous, meaning a relationship between the two different sexes. However, there are sexualities that exist in nature and are beyond the understanding of the average human society. The most interesting fact is that sexualities are born in the genes of a person and they express themselves at one point of time in the individual’s life. It is, in fact, the natural instinct of a person that helps him or her to identify their true nature. People who possess different sexualities are termed as LGBTQ an acronym for “Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transvestites and Queer” (Rimmerman, Wald and Wilcox, 2006). The human body is a fascinating creation and all people constitute the complete sexuality of human beings. And since it is in the nature of a human it must be represented as equal to the conventional in the society. The LGBTQ movement is one the fastest catching movements in the United States. The US allows people from all walks of life to live freely and pursue their choices. It is imminent then that these choices must include the freedom of a person to choose his or her sexual preferences. The LGBTQ movement is a social ideology that brings forth the concept of rights for the people with different sexual preferences. LGBT and LGBTQ movements have been part of the modern world history and have affected legal procedures all over the world. Debate on the validity of rights for LGBT individuals is controversial. The following paper is a discussion of the LGBTQ movement and how it has grown in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
LGBT is a generalized term associated with defining people with homosexual or bisexual tendencies. The concept of LGBTQ movements boils down to one important thought, the equality of these people in the society (Rimmerman, Wald and Wilcox, 2006). In this broad scope, LGBTQ movements have some underlying goals. These include cultural and political social goals. The cultural goals include challenging central constructions of homophobia, masculinity and feminism, and the predominance of the gender based nuclear families with emphasis on heterosexual relationships. Political goals of these movements include altering laws and policies so that new rights can be brought upon, new benefits can be gained, and getting protection from hegemonic harm. LGBTQ activists demand both of these goals in civil and political scenarios. The modern day society has brought about awareness amongst the people and they have come to understand the rights that they must be given. Many doctors who study sexual behavior in man agree that homosexuality be treated as a neutral sexual condition. They (the doctors) also argue that homosexual relationships between male-male & female-female couples could not be characterized as a medical condition or a criminal offense and that its importance is above the illogical restrictions imposed upon by the society (Rimmerman, Wald and Wilcox, 2006).
However, it was not so all along. As near in history as the early eighteenth century, any form of sexuality other than heterosexuality was looked upon as sodomy and sumptuary under law (Babb, 2001). There is proof though that homosexuality was recognized and understood as a real phenomenon as was evident from the content of plays from Shakespearian and other Elizabethan eras (Babb, 2001). In the year 1791, France legalized homosexuality, the first to ever do so, after activists protested laws for due representation in the new French Constitution after the French Revolution brought democracy in the country. However LGBT rights were not protested for in England before the late 1870s that too under secrecy (Aragon, 2006). Secret British societies like the "Order of Chaeronea" protested for legalization of homosexuality, and enlisted influential people like Oscar Wilde, the famous playwright, amongst the members of this society.
Such early supporters of LGBT rights were often associated with a larger socio-political awakening known as the “Free Love” movement, which criticized the Victorian dogma of sexual morality and patriarchal setup of families and marriages that seemed to dominate women. (Babb, 2001) Some supporters of the free love movement in the early twentieth century, like the Russian feminist Emma Goldman, spoke in defense of homosexual love and challenged legislation that repressed them (Rimmerman, Wald and Wilcox, 2006)..
Almost nearly after World War II, some new homosexual rights groups came to life and some old ones were revived across the civilization of the west, mostly in European countries like Britain, Germany, France, the Scandinavian countries as well as in the United States (Aragon, 2006). The preferred term then was homophiles over homosexuals, as a way of emphasizing emotions of love over physical sex (Babb, 2001). The Homophile movement began in the late 1940s and continued to operate throughout the decades of 50s and 60s with groups in countries like the United States, and France etc. (Babb, 2001)
Homophile movement promoted the establishment of a noticeable influence in the political systems of social tolerability. By the end of the decade of 60s, there were many such organizations and publications in the United States alone, and organizations at the national level were formed, but most of these movements and organizations were ignored by the media. The first Gay March took place in the year 1962 in front of the Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. (Babb, 2001) The Gay March event marked the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. At almost the same time, an LGBT youth organization was formed by Adrian Ravarour in San Francisco titled the “Vanguard” with the sole purpose of demonstrating rights for equality. During the months from April to July of the year 1966, members of the Vanguard led protests for equal rights for all.
The "Don't ask, don't tell" was a law formed in the year 1991, forbidding people with tendencies from joining the United States military services openly. This act following protests was repealed in the year 2010. The repealing of this law meant that homosexuals could now serve willingly in the military without fear of facing discharge because of their choice of sexual orientation. As of 2014, gay and lesbian marriages are recognized in countries like Sweden, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Iceland, Canada, Norway, South Africa, Uruguay, Denmark, France, New Zealand, and Israel along with twenty-five states in the United States of America, including Washington D.C. and New York (Ryan, 2014). LGBTQ individuals are treated at par with other individuals in these provinces giving them right to live normal healthy lives with all the rights available to any individual of that state.
A large number of individuals and organizations oppose LGBTQ movements. There may be several reasons for such opposition, which may include personal, moral, political or religious objections to homosexual relations, gay rights, or towards gay people (Rimmerman, Wald and Wilcox, 2006). Opponents to homosexuality and rights to LGBTQ argue that homosexual relationships cannot be taken as marriages. Opponents also argue that legalizing homosexual marriages may pave way for legalization of certain socially unacceptable practices like polygamy. Such groups also say that such marriages are unnatural and that such practices encourage people to keep unhealthy behavior in public. Some conservative believers say that all forms of sexual relationships between individuals other than partners of opposite sex undermine the traditional structure of families, and that children must be brought up in homes with a father and a mother only (Rimmerman, Wald and Wilcox, 2006) (Rimmerman, Wald and Wilcox, 2006). Some people lay worry to the belief that implementing gay rights may put conflict with freedom of speech of individuals, freedom of religion in the workplace, as well as the capacity to run churches, charitable establishments and other such other religious organizations that hold views opposing social and cultural rights of the LGBT people. Conservatives are also concerned that religious organizations may be forced to accept and perform rights for gay and lesbian marriages or they may risk losing their status of tax-exemption.
Many gay rights proponents argue that the teachings of diverse sexual beliefs and perspectives existing outside the boundary of perspective of heterosexuality are appropriate to help students create perspectives that are well informed about the world around them. However, it must be acknowledged that inclusion of sex education in the curriculum are not enough to teach young people about the key factors related to sexual preferences. However, suggestions should be made to schools to implement policies that help in creating safe learning environments in schools and fostering support for gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender fellow students and youths. It is believed that schools providing unbiased, fact based information related to sexual orientation, along with counseling programs that provide support for homosexual youth would bring transformation in the way the society perceives and treats homosexuality. Many LGBTQ social movement opponents have ascribed their indifference to homosexuality because of the belief that it may perpetrate immoral values in children when they are exposed to individuals with homosexual orientation. In countering claims to this, supporters of increased education related to sexuality other than heterosexuality suggest teachers should abstain from teaching about sexuality in schools completely. It has also been suggested that education has impacts the perspective towards same homosexual marriages in a positive manner. Educational qualification amongst whites has a significant positive effect on support for homosexual marriage, whereas a direct effect of education amongst African Americans is less significant. Income levels of white individuals have a direct and positive correlation to positive support for homosexual marriages. However, in the case of African American individuals, income level cannot be significantly associated with innate attitudes toward homosexual marriages.
The place of situation turns out be an affecting factor in a person’s perception of ideas towards homosexual marriages. Take for an example people from rural regions and southern areas have a significantly higher opposition towards homosexual marriage in comparison to individuals situated in other places. Women are constantly found to be more supportive of LGBTQ rights as compared with men, and individuals who have gone through divorce or have remained celibate have more probability to grant marital rights to homosexual couples than individuals who are married or have been widowed. It is also found that white women are comparatively more supportive of the same sex marriage than white men. However, there exist no biases based on gender amongst African Americans. The year of birth plays an important role in determining the outlook of an individual towards LGBTQ. It is found that generations that were born after the year 1946 gave comparatively more support to homosexual marriage than generations born before the year. Statistically African Americans have a comparatively higher opposition towards homosexual marriages than any other available ethnicity.
Studies also suggest that Christians excluding Protestants are more supportive of homosexual marriages in comparison to Protestants (Padilla, 2003). Other religions like the Jews are also found to be more supportive of LGBTQ rights and the homosexual marriages. In terms of ethnic distribution white Christian males are more supportive of the same sex marriage, as Protestant whites consist of only thirty percent of the white Christian population. However, in the case of African American males, support for the same sex marriage is less because more than sixty percent African American Christian males are Protestants. African Americans are found to be more against favoring same sex marriage and LGBT rights.
It can be concluded that the acceptance of LGBTQ and their rights varies from communities to communities and from people different ethnicity view LGBT differently, mostly on the basis of their religion or place of origin. Also, older generations do not approve of LGBT and same sex marriages as their generation have seen more conservative norms and laws that hardly gave any rights to LGBT people.
However, LGBTQ movements are an indicator of the fact that human beings are finally becoming aware of themselves and have started accepting their natural tendencies. It must be understood that opposing something that exists in nature is similar to opposing the existence of nature itself. Ignoring or oppressing one aspect of human tendencies can only lead to dissatisfaction of the individual, leading to physical, emotional and psychological losses. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the significance of LGBTQ individuals. Also, one must understand the fact that LGBT are not different from normal people and being social animals they too appreciate acceptance and harmony like any other human being (Ryan, 2014). Therefore, it is also important to acknowledge the fact that LGBTQ are a significant part of human society, able enough for contributing equally to the society as responsible citizens, and any form discrimination based upon their personal sexual preference is violation of their right to free living.
Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Queer people may be different in just one or more aspects of their way of behavior, but they enrich the society by adding to the diversity of it, bringing in harmony and propagating the gospel that love can come to an individual in any form. Reforms are required, both in the perspective of society and law so that individuals who belong to this group may be a part of the society and function normally without being discriminated. Once fair representation is reached in the eyes of justice, only the can equality be delivered to the people belonging to the LGBT groups.
Aragon, A. P. (2006). Challenging Lesbian Norms: Intersex, Transgender, Intersectional, and Queer Perspectives. Haworth Press.
Babb, F. E. (2001). After Revolution: Mapping Gender and Cultural Politics in Neoliberal Nicaragua. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-70900-5.
Padilla, Y. C. (2003). Gay and Lesbian Rights Organizing: Community-based Strategies. Haworth Press. ISBN 1-56023-275-7.
Rimmerman, C. A., Wald, K. D., Wilcox, C. (2006). The Politics of Gay Rights. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 1-4129-0988-0.
Ryan, H. (10 January 2014). "What Does Trans* Mean, and Where Did It Come From?'". Slate. Retrieved from (http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/01/10/trans_what_does_it_mean_and_where_did_it_come_from.html)