Awareness and Reform Bring More Equality to LGBT Community
The White House has declared June as LGBT Pride Month. During this month many organizations are focused on raising awareness about issues, and will celebrate the progress made towards increasing equal rights for those who identify themselves with the LGBT community. President Barack Obama has made efforts towards improving gay rights such as in employment. In the United States, people are still being fired from their jobs for their sexual orientation. President Obama continues to work with Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, so that injustices like this are stopped.
LGBT awareness has led school districts to adopt policies that protect LGBT students. This includes inclusive anti-bullying policies. According to one study (Kosciw, Greytak, Diaz, & Bartkiewicz, 2010) 84% of LGBT students report being bullied in school. In addition, 82% reported being verbally harassed at school because of their sexual orientation, and over 18% reported being physically assaulted (O'Malley Olson, Kann, Vivolo-Kantor, Kinchen, and McManus, 2014).
It is clear that effective programs and policies to support these students are important. Studies have found that current federal amendments in place that have negatively targeted and/or discriminated against LGBT can predict psychiatric crisis among LGBT adults. Inversely, schools with implemented inclusive anti-bullying policies to protect LGBT students have reduced their risk for suicide attempts. According to GLSEN (2011), schools that have Gay Straight Alliances provide LGBT students with a space that feels safe within an environment that may be considered hostile.
These policies are increasing our country’s effort to grant freedom to all citizens. The words echo in President Obama’s proclamation, “As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
While declaring the month of June as LGBT Pride Month, President Obama is still making efforts to decriminalize homosexuality on an international level, enhance hate crime laws, and improve adoption rights. These steps have not only made our nation “more accepting, but more equal as well.”