Hatred for the LGBT community has always been a topic of conversation, especially in today’s political climate. With the U.S. Vice President being a supporter of conversion therapy as well as having a record of opposing gay rights, it doesn’t come as a surprise when other lawmakers share similar negative ideals regarding the LGBT community.
In recent weeks the conversation has been steered toward West Virginia delegate, Eric Porterfield, making the claim that “the LGBTQ is a modern-day version of the Ku Klux Klan.”
This is, without question, absolutely incorrect and abhorrent. Rhetoric like this should not be spread. LGBT rights are basic human rights and should be treated as such.
While it may seem frivolous to be discussing something like this in 2019, when people in charge are making such cruel and harmful comments, the conversation on gay rights is one that needs to continue.
When we see headlines about Kevin Hart disapproving of the LGBT community, or hear about Porterfield wanting to see if his children “could swim” in response to being asked what he would do if one of his kids were gay—meaning here that, much along the lines of the witch trials, he would, to put it blatantly, drown them for their hypothetical homosexuality—we can’t deny that, while acceptance of the queer community has grown, there are still those who blindly and ignorantly choose to hate.
An article from USA Today states that 67 percent of Americans are in support of gay rights. While this number would place the majority of Americans on the side of human rights, 43 percent are left on the opposition.
West Virginia Republican Party Chairwoman Melody Potter said in a statement in regard to Porterfield, “These comments are unacceptable and we denounce them. They have no place in America.”
Same-sex rights are basic human rights. Wanting to be married to someone of the same gender, wanting to be recognized as the gender one identifies with, wanting to be recognized as a human being is not outrageous, it is not wrong, it is a basic human desire.
At this point in time, one would think that the conversation would be off the table entirely. Members of the LGBT community run rampant in the media we consume. Nearly every show on television has a least one character that identifies as queer; pop culture icons and activists like Laverne Cox or Ellen DeGeneres are constantly shining light on the issues and struggles of their communities. Knowing the struggles that the LGBT community face should only make people want to eradicate these inequalities in any possible way.
Yet here we stand, with people making decisions for the queer community with a lack of understanding of what basic human rights are.
What is the next step? How does acceptance of the LGBT spread?
The Guardian details 13 steps one can take in order to help—from simply encouraging LGBT activism, to taking cases of discrimination to court—but ultimately, nothing can change until those in power who oppose the LGBT are exposed and held accountable for their hate speech and for hateful support of anti-gay propaganda.
The change that so desperately needs to come can only begin if individuals open their eyes and their hearts and recognize that at the end of the day, we are all people first.