As the world is modernizing, people are becoming more open, more accepting and more considering towards the thoughts and beliefs of individuals and communities who look at everything in a different way as compared to everybody else who follows the stereotypical thought that everyone else around them follows.
The LGBT community; that is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, is a community of people who are either attracted to people of the same gender, or belong to more than one of the two sexes.
People belonging to this community may look or behave slightly different as compared to others, but this does not mean that the rights given to them should be different as compared to the rights given to anyone else. Around 80 countries still criminalize belonging to this community and having a relationship. A lot of laws deny even the most basic of laws to anyone belonging to this community. Belonging to this community means being ready to be a victim of bullying, sometimes even murder at anytime in several regions. It sometimes also means being ready to get rejected for a job no matter how skilled they are. Looking at the way in which they are treated by the people around them, other members of this community find it hard to come out. The discrimination faced by them leads to them settling in an isolated area, giving up on their social life, and even considering suicide in some cases. The way that people of this community are looked at, spoken to, and treated in some parts of this world clearly show us how much the people of this planet can differentiate. The world as a whole must change the way they look at these people, and must let them belong to a more secure, protective community where it is easy for individuals belonging to this community to come out to their family and society.
While LGBT relationships are banned in most African and a few Asian countries, it is openly accepted in most parts of The United States of America. LGBT relationships are banned in 74 countries, and in 13 countries including Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan being gay or bisexual is punishable by death. Surprisingly, propaganda interpreted to promote the LGBT community is banned in 17 countries. A survey was recently conducted by the HRC, and findings tell us that the number of people that accept the LGBT community and are open-minded towards them has drastically increased since their last survey conducted in the year 2000.
The HRC website that states statistics related to bullying, gives us information that 90% of the teenagers belonging to the LGBT community were bullied because of their sexual preferences. 1 in every 4 citizens of this planet that belong to the LGBT community are uninsured, and are given much lesser preference and are not entertained by the government, hospitals, banks and shops in many countries as compared to others.
The international edition of The Guardian, a British newspaper, asked over 100 of its global readers to tell them what its like to being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender where they live. The reader from Bangladesh described it to be living in a comfortable closet. This meant that it is easy for them to come out and reveal their identity, but the cultural and social norms made it hard for the members of this community to fit in. In Germany, same sex marriage has been legal for a few decades, and gay couples are accepted everywhere, but in smaller towns, they are practically invisible and are too afraid to be recognized. The mindset of residents of smaller towns and the city differ, creating a difference in the way that members of this community are looked at.
Just like these countries have residents with different mindsets, where some accept members of the LGBT community openly while others are completely against the idea of doing so, other countries have the same scenario. While in all countries the members of this community are either given the same rights as others, or suffer immense discrimination, more than the political head of the country, it is the society that they belong to that massively affects them.
While getting a job and being allowed to adopt is important, what is more important to them is the way they are treated. It is the way that they are looked at that affects them more than the rights that they are given. If individuals, and eventually whole societies decide to accept them the way that they are, the country will also accept them and give them the same rights and treat them equally.
From the national perspective, LGBT rights differ from country to country. For example, in India, homosexuals are not permitted to serve in the government. Job opportunities for those belonging to the LGBT community are limited, and they are not given loans or the permission to open accounts in many banks. There is no law imposed to give homosexuals equal rights yet. In December 2013, the Delhi High Court stated that homosexual acts will lead to imprisonment for a minimum of 10 years, and is a punishable offence. Same sex marriages are illegal, and if both the parents belong to the same sex, they cannot adopt a child. According to Pinknews, a UK based online newspaper for the LGBT community, the results of a survey conducted in 2018 state that 50% of the total gay, bisexual and transgender Indian men who took part in the survey had not come out to their friends or family. 40% of these men had decided that it would be the best decision for them to keep their identity to themselves. One third of these men were married to a woman keeping in mind the social judgement that they would have to face. In India, members of this community are looked down upon and socially disregarded by their society and moreover their families. Their gender status is preferred to not be revealed to the society by their family in most cases. Members of this community, especially teenagers are often not allowed to dress the way that they wish to and are asked to change their body language. Their choices are often overruled by that of their parents. The very idea of a family member being part of this community causes arguments and disagreements in the family. The members of this community are heavily affected by political moves and the opinions of the society.
Personally, I feel that every human on this planet must have equal rights, and there should be no discrimination between people that belong to the same planet. As a resident of India, I very commonly see people bullying and making faces at bisexuals. In India, bisexuals are constantly seen being pushed away and beaten, and begging for food and money on the road, perhaps because their family disowned them because they did not want to be ashamed. Because of the way in which I have seen them being treated, I myself would look away when they would come near me to ask for money, or stare at them and think of them as someone who isnt a part of the society I belonged to. Only after reading about the difficulties they face and witnessing them being beaten up for no reason at all did I understand that they are no different from me. Ever since, I have looked at them in the way that I would look at anyone else. Till not a long time ago, I used to have the same mentality as almost everyone. Even I would judge people based on their physical appearance rather than the qualities or talents they possess. Now, I do not see why being gay or bisexual means being different from everyone else. Currently, the members of this community are given one of the lowest positions in the social hierarchy of India. I strongly believe that all citizens of this planet deserve the same and equal rights. Being different shouldnt give anyone a reason or right to ill-treat, disrespect or bully somebody. If the members of this community know that once they come out, they will be treated in the same way as others are, they will be so much more confident in themselves and will start to own who they are. It is the mindset that people around them have that makes it hard for them to reveal their identity.
POSSIBLE COURSES OF ACTION
There are several groups of people all over the world who understand the current problems and are doing their best to solve them. They use the help of campaigns, presentations and various other methods to convey their message. One such group of young adults who are fighting for LGBT rights is The M.I.N.G.L.E. (Mission for Indian Gay and Lesbian Empowerment) group. This group is Indias first LGBT non-profit think tank. Their vision is to allow all citizens of India to enjoy their rights to lead a safe and respected life irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Such organizations be of help for them to a certain extent, but till individuals of the society do not begin to accept the community themselves, it is of no use. Whenever I witness someone staring or making a face at them, I try my best to tell them that they deserve the same rights as us and do not deserve bullying. Doing a simple thing like this, is a contribution to making a big change. Even if everyone individually decides to change their own thoughts and help change others mindsets then eventually, like the butterfly effect, the countrys views on the community will begin to drastically change. If every country starts changing their views one by one, and begins treating everyone equally, with the same rights, then it will not be long before our planet will start accepting people of all genders, races, shades and religions. A step as small as stopping your colleague from saying something against the LGBT community and opening their eyes to acceptance, or putting up a poster in ones neighborhood can lead to all of us climbing a long ladder and reaching a position where everyone will have equal rights and there will be no discrimination that exists.
Overall, what societies believe and what cultures preach massively affects the self-confidence of the members of this community. A lot of people who come out have to bear consequences, some may be disowned by their family and lose their voice in the society while others might choose to isolate themselves from everyone or perhaps even think of committing suicide in order to bring an end to their problems. Very few of these people are accepted by the society, and knowing this, other members of the community may restrain themselves from coming out and instead, build a fear in their mind. They choose to keep their identity to themselves. In cases where they are willingly accepted, they may be required to restrain from telling everyone about their sexuality, and keep it only within the family. A lot of them might also behave differently compared to how they normally would in front of guests or sometimes even their own family in order to fit in.
All of this creates psychological stress and triggers several mental illnesses. The consequences of simply revealing ones identity plays a very important role in the lives of the members of the LGBT community. It dominates over them and requires them to change who they are to please the society.