The theorized that non-heterosexual orientations stem from

The disenfranchisement of the LGBT community is an issue that has plagued society for a long time. They have been regarded as aberrant, defective, and subhuman. They have been denied basic rights and rejected by society. They have been arrested, abused, and even killed for being who they are. Even in the present, although times and circumstances have improved, bigotry is still prevalent in the populace. As someone who is transgender and bisexual, these issues are important to me. I may be living in a fairly accepting environment, but I am still not insusceptible to microaggressions, even from those who mean well. If my circumstances could be considered to be on the fortunate side, I can only imagine what the less fortunate members of my community must be dealing with. In order to take a step toward eliminating those struggles, I seek to educate people about these problems and encourage them to fight against them. In the past, members of the LGBT community were viewed as anomalies. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, people tried to come up with various theories about homosexuality. For example, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, a German psychiatrist, believed homosexuality to be an inborn disorder. Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist, believed that all people are predisposed to attraction to any gender; he thought of homosexuality as phase in the process of developing heterosexuality. Sandor Rado, a Hungarian psychoanalyst, believed bisexuality and homosexuality to be abnormalities; he theorized that non-heterosexual orientations stem from a fear of members of another sex that result from faulty parenting. Under the impression that it was a disorder, some even tried to “cure” homosexuality. Because of the popularity of these beliefs, the American Psychiatric Association, or APA, classified homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, as a “sociopathic personality disturbance” in 1952, then as a “sexual deviation” in 1968.However, the data found in the studies of other researchers contradicted these beliefs. Alfred Kinsey, an American biologist, surveyed thousands of non-psychiatric patients and found that about 10% of that population was gay. As homosexuality was thought to be extremely rare, this number was much larger than expected. In addition, Evelyn Hooker, an American psychologist, “published a study in which she compared psychological test results of 30 gay men with 30 heterosexual controls, none of whom were psychiatric patients. Her study found no more signs of psychological disturbances in the gay male group, a finding that refuted psychiatric beliefs of her time that all gay men had severe psychological disturbances.” These findings confuted the idea that homosexuality is an anomaly or a disorder that needs to be treated.Then, on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall riots occurred. According to History, Stonewall Inn was a retreat for LGBT people during a time where discrimination rates were high. Despite its poor conditions and supposed blackmailing of customers, it was a popular gathering for LGBT people because there were few other places where they could feel welcome. It was frequently raided by the police, but the bar would usually receive a warning before the raids occur. However, on the day that would go down in LGBT history, the bar was unprepared for the police raid. The police entered the bar, beat up its patrons, and arrested people for possession of illegal alcohol and for violating the law requiring people to wear no less than three articles of clothing that were deemed gender-appropriate. By this time, patrons and other civilians alike had begun to gather outside the bar. One patron in particular, a lesbian who was being roughed up by an officer, yelled for observers to do something. The crowd began pelting debris at the police, and the riot began. The fire department and a riot squad managed to bring the situation under control and break up the congregation of protestors eventually, but their anger pent up from years of discrimination did not die down that easily. The protests continued for 5 more days. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “In the wake of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, gay and lesbian activists, believing psychiatric theories to be a major contributor to anti-homosexual social stigma, disrupted the 1970 and 1971 annual meetings of the APA.” The endeavors of LGBT activists have been said to be the primary reason for the changes regarding homosexuality made to the DSM.Because of these efforts, acceptance of the LGBT community has grown significantly. In 1973, the APA concluded that homosexuality was not a mental disorder and removed it from the DSM. Although, it was replaced with Sexual Orientation Disturbance, which was later replaced once more by Ego Dystonic Homosexuality, but by this point, psychiatrists had begun to realize that these classifications did not meet the definition of a disorder. In 1987, it was officially removed from the DSM. There have also been other advancements in LGBT rights; gay marriage has been legalized throughout the United States, and a number of LGBT people are being elected into government positions, a feat that would have likely been impossible mere decades ago. According to National Public Radio, former United States president Barack Obama even recognized Stonewall Inn as a national monument. The fact that a historic LGBT symbol was acknowledged by the head of the country says volumes about how far this country has come in terms of acceptance. Unfortunately, however, society still has a long way to go. Although significant progress has been made since the start of LGBT resistance against discrimination, the current United States government is undoing that progress. According to the New York Times, on February 22, 2017, President Donald Trump “rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, overruling his own education secretary. In a joint letter, the top civil rights officials from the Justice and Education Departments rejected the Obama administration’s position that nondiscrimination laws require schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice.” Additionally, on December 14, 2017, President Trump forbade the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, from using seven words in their documents relating to their budgets: “fetus,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “transgender,” “diversity,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.” According to the Washington Post, “several offices have responsibility for work that uses some of these words. The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention is working on ways to prevent HIV among transgender people and reduce health disparities. The CDC’s work on birth defects caused by the Zika virus includes research on the developing fetus.” The ban on these words prevents, or, at the very least, makes it difficult for the CDC to cover these issues. The fact that Trump is prohibiting the usage of these words reflects his intention to censor them. Some people believe that trans people should not have the same rights as cis people because they are not normal. In response to the prohibition of the seven words, political blogger Kevin Drum published an article in web magazine Mother Jones called “I Have a List of Replacements for the CDC’s 7 Banned Words.” In the article, a chart is pictured with a column of the banned words and a “replacement” next to them. The replacements clearly reflect his conservative views; “vulnerable” is replaced with “snowflake,” “entitlement” is replaced with “welfare,” “diversity” is replaced with “anti-white,” and so on. Then, in the next row, he states his suggested replacement for the word “transgender:” “deviant.” This article may be the doing of only one person, but the mindset behind it is held by many people. According to the New York Times, “Opponents of the laws that allow transgender students to use restrooms that align with their gender said the measure would allow men claiming to be women to enter women’s bathrooms and inflict harm. The message ‘No Men in Women’s Bathrooms’ on signs and in television and radio ads turned the debate from one about equal rights to one about protecting women and girls from sexual predators.” The idea that transgender people are deviants or predators makes cisgender people feel the need to protect their children from them. However, according to Reuters, trans people are far more likely to be the victims of harassment in bathrooms rather than the perpetrators of it. A survey of 27,715 trans adults from the United States in 2015 found that, in the past year, 9% of respondents had been denied restroom access, 12% had been verbally harassed in a restroom, and 24% had had their presence in a restroom questioned or challenged. The misconception that trans people are a threat puts them at even more risk of maltreatment. To combat the regression of society’s acceptance towards LGBT people, awareness must be brought to these issues. There needs to be systematic change; people need to be educated about the injustices that this community has suffered through and still suffers through today in order for years of stigma to be deprogrammed. However, people cannot change unless they are willing to change; some people may never better their ways. Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people in this era are becoming more willing to adopt a more progressive vision. For that reason, the LGBT community and its allies must band together, make their voices heard, and take concrete action against injustice lest history repeat itself.


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