How Homophobia Torments Our Society

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Zachary Breder, Writer

The Merriam Webster’s definition of homophobia is “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals”. The key word being “irrational”. Out of the 195 countries in the world, there are more than 80 countries that have laws that criminalize same-sex relationships. Acceptance of the LGBT community continues to spread around the world, but homosexuality is still illegal in many parts of the world. In the parts that it is legal, there is still prejudiced. I think that this is unacceptable. To this day, there are still people who are prejudiced against gays and lesbians.

How did we get here? Well, in 1971, the fight for same-sex marriage began when the Minnesota Supreme Court decided that bans on same-sex marriage were constitutional. This decision was never challenged. As time progressed, same-sex marriage became more accepted by open-minded people. However, this acceptance was met with backlash from many conservative Americans. This backlash forced Bill Clinton to sign one of the worst documents ever drafted. On September 21st of 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA was put into effect. The document specifically denied to same-sex couples all benefits and recognition given to opposite-sex couples. This was a hard hit to the LGBT activists. But they regained strength when Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., joined them in their fight for equality.

Slowly, more and more states began to legalize gay marriage on their own. On August 9th of 2007, the Logo cable channel hosted the first American presidential forum. This forum focused specifically on LGBT issues. Six Democrats participated in the forum, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. All Republican candidates declined. On December 18th of 2010, the U.S. Senate repealed an outdated policy. The removal of this policy allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. On February 23rd of 2011, President Obama removed the Defense of Marriage Act.

Finally, on June 26th of 2015, Gay marriage was legalized. Obergefell v. Hodges was the revolutionary Supreme Court case that made gay marriage legal. In a 5 to 4 decision, gay marriage was legalized. 5 to 4 decision. That means that if one other person voted for it to stay illegal that it would be illegal. The decision came down to one person. One person decided the fate of millions of Americans. One person would decide whether 10 percent of the population would get to live their lives with the person that they loved. This is terrifying

Throughout this timeline the LGTBQ + community stayed stong, facing the homophobia and torment on the path to gay marriage. Today, the LGBTQ+ community still fights for their equality. One of the ways that they celebrate equality is through pride month. Throughout the month of October, parades are held around the world to celebrate the acceptance and recognition of the LGBTQ+ community. In a New York pride parade in 2016, history was made when 2.5 million people participated in the parade. Now the LGBTQ+ community does not stand alone during this month. Families, friends, and any other allies also stand with the LGBTQ+ community in the fight for equality. Some well-known brand names also stand by the LGBTQ+ community during pride month. Some of these brands include: Apple, Disney, Nike, Peloton, Ikea, Starbucks, Verizon, Bud Light and Listerine. All of these companies are excellent in their recognition of pride month; however, Disney goes the extra mile.

Every year, during pride month, Disney hosts “Gay Days” which is a pride parade held at Disney. While it is not an official Disney event, it is one of the most popular things to take place at Disney. During Gay Days, Disney has special merchandise for sale as well as photo ops and special foods and drinks.  The love and acceptance is spread as the LGBTQ+ community enjoys the wonder of these days. However, Disney never misses an opportunity to make some money. From collectable rainbow pins to rainbow mickey ears, Disney goes all out with its Gay Days merchandise.

While love an acceptance is the goal, sometimes this blinds us to the fact that homophobia is still a serious issue in today’s society. Around the world, people are under attack for who they love. There are 195 countries in the world and over 80 of them have laws that criminalize same sex relationships. 13 of the countries have death penalties for same sex relationships. 6 of those 13 countries are members of the United Nations. It is all too common that LGBTQ+ people are subject to verbal or physical abuse for being who they are. 1 out of every 5 hate crimes are anti LGBTQ+ motivated. In 2019 alone, 331 transgender people were murdered, hanged, and lynched. This is horrifying. Despite this, the LGBTQ+ community holds their heads up

There is so much hate in the world today when there doesn’t need to be. LGBTQ+ people just want to live their lives in peace and be accepted by the society that they live in. People who are prejudiced just need to learn to accept that they are part of our society. A part that we should embrace. A part that we should celebrate. The LGBTQ+ community continues to spread their message of love and acceptance around the world as more and more people become allies. You can show your support too. Whether it’s simple support for a friend or college to showing your support at a local pride parade. Acceptance costs nothing and feels great for everyone.