Fighting for one’s rights is a perpetual battle, especially when you are a part of the minority. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders; or also known as the LGBT community, are constantly fighting and protesting for their rights and to be socially accepted in this modern world. Some of the main issues that have been brought into court and sparked a massive controversy consist of same-sex marriages, adoption for same-sex couples, and discrimination against gays in the workplace. The society deems it unacceptable to be of different sexual orientation or gender variance as it is “unnatural” and illicit in most religions, which is why the majority are strongly against this minority social group. The government and society would do anything in their power to ban any equal rights for the LGBT community because they don’t wish to see same-sex couples roaming the streets in everyday normalcy and having to answer their children when they ask “Daddy, why does that kid have two dads?”
However, the LGBT community is bigger than the society thinks. The LGBT community is being so discriminated by society to the point where there are protests and rallies almost everyday in some part of the world. And if they’re not coming together for a protest, they’ve probably come together to parade their unity in gay pride. Despite the fact that they are still a minority group that has yet to be socially acceptable in social construct, they still fight for equal rights. They would however prefer to exhibit their disdain towards the majority’s mentality by dancing through the streets with lively music and flamboyant costumes in a parade. Gay pride parades are a positive (and fabulous) way of marching through town and protesting for their cause and not only will people who fall into the LGBT category take part in the parade, heterosexuals who support their cause would usually take part in the parade as well. This is their way of showing that not only is their community growing as more and more people are starting to “come out of the closet” and be themselves, but there are others who believe that they have the rights to be deemed as equals.
As of today, gay marriage has been made legal in 13 countries, with Netherlands being the first to legalize the law in the year 2000, and it is also partially legal in the United States. You must be thinking, the LGBT community must be proud of their achievement. After fighting for umpteen years before the 21st century, they have finally passed laws and bills to legalize not only marriage but adoption for same-sex couples. Of course, without a doubt the LGBT community would revel in such victories. However, surprisingly enough there are some gays, despite being in committed relationships for years, who are not fond of the thought of marriage.
Due to my naivety, I thought only heterosexuals and religious people would be strongly against the idea of same-sex marriage; apparently I thought wrong. The reason being mainly because of the expenditures and legal papers a gay couple would have to deal with just to be wed, whereas straight couples can get married with little paperwork and smaller expenses. Gays would already have to spend a fortune on approving their marriage, and then the issue of adoption would also put itself into question. Also, they believe that getting married to your gay partner just isn’t the same as an ‘Adam and Eve’ wedding due to religious and social concerns. Some religions have had to make exceptions just to allow same-sex couples to marry. Sure, some couples really believe in ‘forever after’ and tying the knot with their significant other really means a lot to them; but some gay couples are content with the idea of being partners without having to be happily married.
So the question here is, should gays be granted the freewill to get married if they wish to? Same-sex marriage has already been made legal in 13 countries and yet gay couples still have to go through endless debates in court to seek approval. This is where I feel their rights to marry is still debatable.
All the countries that have legalized gay marriages often put the option for adoption as the legislation in question. Basically, if the higher court disagrees that gays should be allowed to adopt children, the bill for gay marriage wouldn’t have passed in the first place. Not many would react positively to the legalization of gay adoption mainly due to the fact that it is still socially unacceptable to be gay, thus it is socially unacceptable to have two fathers or two mothers. Not only will this be looked down upon by the society, but children in school would turn to question this as well. Children of two fathers or mothers would eventually face discrimination by other children in school because “they’re adopted!” or “they have gay parents!” And to avoid this phenomenon from happening, certain adoption agencies even believe that “only heterosexual, Christian couples can adopt.”
Just a couple of months ago France had just passed the bill to legalize gay marriage and adoption; and just a a couple of days ago France has just approved their first legal adoption by a lesbian couple. The children biologically belonged to one wife and the approval for the other wife to legally adopt the two children only recently took place although the couple had married a couple of months ago when gay marriage had been legalized. This brings into question the issue of medically assisted procreation and surrogacy for gay couples as ‘there are not enough adoptable children’. However, this brings us into an entirely different issue.
It appears that there are certain adoption agencies that refuse to approve adoptions by homosexual couples, especially when they wish to adopt a child from a different country. Seeing as the lesbian couple mentioned previously had to trudge through a mile worth of paperwork and court injustice just to have the other wife be approved as an adopted mother, I can only imagine how much more a couple would have to go through to adopt a child from another country such as South Africa. Why shouldn’t same-sex couples be allowed to adopt? Unless their background check shows a tainted record that involved drugs, homicide, or rape, I don’t see why they are deemed ‘unfit to be a parent’.
Discrimination in the Workplace
Even in this modern era, members of the LGBT community are still being discriminated in the workforce. In short, you can actually get fired for having a different sexual orientation. It appears that laws for anti-LGBT discrimination have failed to protect the entire LGBT populace in most states and countries. Just because someone is of questionable gender and sexual orientation, it doesn’t give anyone any right to put them out of a job. In fact, I find this the most ridiculous forms of discrimination. Sure, almost everywhere you go the public would sneer at you and shun you away from society just because you dress differently or act differently. Without a doubt it is expected that the LGBT community would be looked down upon by many; some even get made fun of and bullied in educational institutions. However, I find it rather ridiculous that just because somebody that happens to “roll the other way”, they cannot get a job in the city or state they live in.
It’s issues like these that really spark controversy. The LGBT community has been granted the rights of equality, but it seems to me that the authorities have not been keeping their word. However, despite still being discriminated in such a way, the LGBT group still stand their ground together to fight for equal rights, which not only revolve around issues pertaining marriage and employment, but their rights to vote are also in jeopardy as well. When will the community be granted what they were promised?
The only valid reason I have as to why I support the LGBT community so much is because they are comfortable and proud to be who they are and they don’t care about what others think of them. On June 28th, 1969, a bar called Stonewall Inn, a bar that catered to the gay community, in New York City had been raided. This was the first time that the community had fought back as they were tired of the ongoing raids. A year after the Stonewall Riots, the first Gay Pride March was held to commemorate the day of the very first stance by the gay community. Ever since then, gay pride parades started to grow and become larger in number over the years and now, it is widely celebrated all around the world.
Gay pride parades are invitingly friendly as they welcome not only members of their own community, but other social groups to join in on the fun as well. Their parades are often flamboyant and colourful as they march through town in fabulous costumes and have wildly decorated floats as well as many singing and dancing acts to entertain marchers and onlookers. In some cities they even have concerts where they invite featured artists to perform and sell tickets to raise funds for their cause. Gay pride is a day where the LGBT community have the freedom to express their love and support for each other; it is a day where nobody can judge them and tell them that whatever they are doing is illicit and illegal. It is a day where they don’t have to fight, but instead unite in peace.
Gay pride parades look like so much fun that it makes me feel like joining them march through town although I’m not even a part of the LGBT community. In fact, I wish that the gay community here in Malaysia would be bold enough to take part in gay pride someday because I believe that the gay community here deserves to have their voices be heard. Gay pride is so universally lauded that more and more individuals are starting to bravely come out of the closet and join the LGBT community; even the rest of the society is slowly becoming more accepting of their social group. Also, if it were not for the expanding community, the legalization of gay marriages and adoption would be less achievable and discrimination against the LGBT community would still be on the rise. One could say that this ‘minority’ would not be content until equal rights have been achieved and until the society views them as socially acceptable.
By Nabilah Muzaffar