It always sneaks up on me because down South, so many of our Pride celebrations have been moved to the month of October, due to the fact that the heat becomes overwhelming by June, which leads many of us to not want to do anything outside that doesn’t involve a swimming pool. But it is June, which means that it’s time for Pride!
We have a lot of things to celebrate this year. The tide has truly turned, as for the first time, a majority of the American people, in multiple polls, support true equal rights for gays and lesbians, all the way up to marriage. People are starting to speak up and speak out like never before on behalf of gay kids, due to things like the “It Gets Better” project. Celebrities and other well-known figures are coming out of the closet in areas once considered “The Final Frontier,” and even professional athletes are starting to express their support for the LGBT community.
But there remains much work to be done. Teddy Partridge has an important piece up at FireDogLake which reminds us that, while we’re celebrating, we must remember that in certain very important ways, we still have disadvantages in this society that we must fight to fix. For one thing, despite myths to the contrary, the LGBT community, on average, makes less money than the greater population. Teddy points to an APA report on the socioeconomic status of the gay community:
Gay men earn up to 32 percent less than similarly qualified heterosexual men.
Up to 64 percent of transgender people report incomes below $25,000.
While 5.9 percent of the general population makes less than $10,000, 14 percent of LGBT individuals are within this income bracket.
Moreover, it sort of depends on where we live. In Tennessee, bigots just passed a big government bill designed to hurt the gay community, prohibiting cities from establishing their own nondiscrimination policies. And these problems still exist in many places across the country:
Termination of an employee based on sexual orientation remains legal in 31 American states.
Termination of an employee based on gender identity remains legal in 39 American states.
Up to 68 percent of individuals identifying as LGBT report experiencing employment discrimination.
Those are big numbers. And while there are many of us who are mobile enough to look at those numbers and say “screw it, I’ll move to a real state where we aren’t treated like crap,” many more of us simply don’t have that option.
This is without even getting into the differences that exist for LGBT youth, and the fact that, according to the same report, twenty-six percent of youth that come out to their parents are kicked out of their homes. ["Pro-family" parents are amazing, aren't they?]
Go read Teddy’s piece, and this month, as you are celebrating, however you are celebrating, if you are celebrating, keep in mind the good and the bad, the jobs finished and those yet to be tackled.