LGBT+World Today

In comparison to the rest of the world, the US is pretty lax when it comes to LGBT+ related laws. Same-sex marriage is legal, name changes are legal, and you’re not going to be (legally) killed for it. More than twenty states have laws against discrimination based on gender identity or sexuality.

That said, we have a long way to go. Mississippi didn’t abolish it’s anti-same-sex marriage laws until March of 2016. That same month allowed same-sex couples to adopt in all fifty states. About half the states still allow housing discrimination, which means that a person’s landlord can evict them solely for being gay or transgender. Men who have had sex with another man in the last twelve months can’t donate blood, which relates all the way back to when it was assumed that HIV/AIDS were diagnosed solely in gay men (not true, by the way. HIV/AIDS can be found in heterosexuals as well). Also, there’s still at least two states where conversion therapy has yet to be banned. The Vice President Elect, Mike Pence, is a proponent of conversion therapy. We have no protection in place for employment discrimination.

This isn’t to say it isn’t infinitely better here than it is in other countries.

In Iraq there is no discrimination protection of any kind, same-sex marriage is not recognized, and there are laws still on the books that law enforcement can use against LGBT citizens.

In Saudi Arabia being gay is punishable by death. Being transgender, however, doesn’t seem to be as criticized, though the laws are rather ambiguous.

In Russia, couples can be together legally, but cannot adopt and cannot marry. There is little to no discrimination protection.

Canada, while not as bad as these other examples, still isn’t as excellent as one would immediately believe. Employment discrimination is banned only based on sexual orientation, gender identity is not protected. In fact, many of their discrimination laws don’t include gender identity. Five provinces have housing discrimination laws that only cover sexuality. There’s a five year deferral for gay males donating blood. Conversion therapy is still legal in six provinces and not specified in another five. As the country held on a pedestal for same-sex marriage, they leave a lot of work for themselves in areas relating to gender identity,

Other countries may have it together better than we do. For example, in South Africa, marriage is legal, adoption is legal, discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity is illegal, and they have only a six month deferral on gay males donating blood.

The United Kingdom is similar to South Africa, but their deferral in blood donation remains alongside the United States at one year.

The world as a whole has an extremely long way to go when it comes LGBT rights. That’s why there’s still so many movements towards equal rights internationally. It’s why pride parades are important, it’s why acceptance is important. Before the world accept LGBT individuals for who they are, laws are going to have to change and voices are going to have to be heard.