LGBT and the Law
The reality portrayed in the Assault on Gay America was honestly incredibly disturbing. What may have been harder to hear was the combination of misconceptions that emerged for these individuals. The societal attribution of predatory qualities to non-heterosexual persons, coupled with the need to assert heterosexual masculinity through violence creates an incredibly dangerous atmosphere for members of the LGBTQ population. One blogger rails against an apology issued over remarks about homosexuality as the deteriorating state of “freedom of speech”. And yet, the second sentence refers to Jason Collins’s coming out as an announcement that “…he engages in sex with men”. For this particular blogger, identity, orientation, and expression are indistinguishable and distasteful (among other fairly offensive things).
I’m reminded of one essay from our textbook, written by Amber Hollibaugh, detailing the life of a woman who grew up impoverished as well as a lesbian. While all of our readings in this section were compelling and heart-wrenching in their discussion of trials experienced by many nonheterosexual-identifying individuals, I was struck by a particular aspect of Amber’s essay. Describing the process of homeless individuals filtering into shelters and rehabilitation programs, I was struck by the bullet point: “Being mandated into homophobic treatment programs for drug or drinking problems and having the program decide to treat your queerness instead of your addiction. If you leave the program, you lose any right to benefits – including Medicaid.”
It was here that I had to put my book down. The scope of the issues facing all populations inside and outside of the LGBT community is much larger than I had been thinking, and to think that there are certain groups left to the mercy of simply what’s in place is beyond infuriating. And yet, stories like this and others are still occurring, though with a much brighter spotlight. However, the trickle down effects of federal policies and the changing shift in attitudes toward the LGBTQ community will hopefully serve as some motivation to keep pushing. With the turn of the Supreme Court in 2011, we saw the beginning stages of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Even more, we see these communities making steps towards healing and a more inclusive future.