The term LGBTQ+ refers to a community made up of people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. The LGBTQ+ community is a melting pot of cultures, subcultures, and movements that share a common goal: equal rights and acceptance of their identity.
Members of this community are often referred to as “the gay community,” “the LGBT community,” or just “the community” when they are among each other. Recognizing the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and understanding the unique experiences and perspectives of individuals within it is essential to creating a more inclusive and accepting society.
- June 26, 2003: Legality of consensual sexual activity between same-sex couples was decriminalized in the U.S.
- May 17, 2004: Same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, making it the first state to do so.
- May 2004: Twenty eight (28) states passed state constitutional amendments that banned same-sex marriage, among them: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Nebraska, North/South Carolina, Ohio, and others.
- October 2009: Congress passes “Matthew Shepard Act” which expanded the definition of a hate crime to include LGBT persons.
- January 2012: The H.U.D passed regulation that prohibited LGBT based discrimination in federally-assisted housing programs.
- June 26, 2013: DOMA ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in U.S vs Windsor.
- June 26, 2015: Same-sex marriage is legalized federally, allowing all same-sex couples to file for marriage licenses in all 50 states.
- January 2019: “Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition” bill introduced to Congress. “Gay Panic” is a legal defense in which the defendant claims to have been made temporarily insane by unwanted same-sex sexual advances. It has yet to have been voted on.
- June 2020: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is expanded to include protections for LGBT persons.
- 42% of people who are LGBTQ+ report living in an unwelcoming environment.
- 80% of gay and lesbian youth report severe social isolation.
- 6 in 10 LGBTQ+ students report feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation. You can encourage your classmates to accept LGBTQ+ students by promoting your views on social media.
- 90% of teens who are LGBTQ+ come out to their close friends.
- Young people who are LGBTQ+ and who are “out” to their immediate families report feeling happier than those who aren’t.
- While non-LGBTQ+ students struggle most with school classes, exams, and work, their LGBTQ+ peers say the biggest problem they face is unaccepting families.
- As of January 2019, most transgender people are barred from serving in the military.