Homophobia has marginalized a significant portion of the population. Although strides towards equality for homosexuals have gained momentum, progress needs to continue. Members of our society are being oppressed by the ignorant simply because of their sexual orientation. When analyzing how to address the discrimination of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, it was apparent equal rights was a complex issue requiring a multifactorial response. It is crucial to identify the groups/individuals contributing to the turmoil, such as religious leaders, politicians, bullies, and even social media. Prejudice and discrimination are realities in our world. Many areas of society still do not recognize its role and responsibility in advancing equality in the community, and how failure to do so, is severely impacting the well-being and everyday life of our lesbian and gay communities.
The Story of Gabby
My interview was conducted with Gabby. She is the founder of a LGBT youth center in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The center is funded by state grants. Gabby reported that her reason for opening the center was to help stop discrimination and oppression against today’s youth. She reported feeling alienated and alone during her early life and wanted to establish services in her own community for today's youth to have a place to talk about their identity and to receive support and guidance. Gabby writes the proposals for the grants herself and in a three-year period has been able to enhance the budget from five-thousand dollars to sixty-thousand dollars. With the funding, she has been able to hire several gay and lesbian peer leaders to teach educational groups and serve as supportive mentors. Gabby reported that in the last 6 months, two teenagers from her center committed suicide. The Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids (SPEAK) organization claims that half of all homosexuals will attempt suicide more than once in their life and that suicide is the leading cause of death of LGBT youth nationwide (SPEAK, 2013). Fittingly, Gabby has established suicide prevention trainings at the center and encourages the youth to seek professional counseling. Unfortunately, mental health professionals are not utilized by many of the gay and lesbian youth for several reasons, such as lack of health insurance, fear of being ridiculed, hesitancy to trust, or fear of having to tell their parents.
Gabby is a forty-one year old, Caucasian female who defined her sexual orientation as queer. Gabby stated that in the gay community, queer is used by those who do not like to be put into a box or have been involved in both bisexual and heterosexual relationships. She explains the term as a defiance statement against labels in general. Gabby has been discriminated against, oppressed, marginalized, and assaulted, both physically and sexually. She stated how the discrimination against gays is not always at the hands of heterosexuals. Within the gay community,...