In the United States of America, there are approximately 9 million people who are a part of the LGBT+ community. This is almost the equivalent to the population of New Jersey. However, LGBT+ people are still lacking basic human rights and are more exposed to bullying, harassment, and violence. Apart from this, 42% of people who are LGBT+ report that they live in an unwelcoming environment. 80% of gay and lesbian youth report severe social isolation.
According to The National School Climate Survey conducted by GLSEN in 2011, 82% of LGBT youth had problems during the previous year with bullying about sexual orientation. GLSEN also reported that,
- 64% felt unsafe at school due to sexual orientation.
- 44% felt unsafe at school due to gender identification.
- 32% did not go to school for at least one day because of feeling unsafe.
- 44% experienced physical harassment
- 22% experienced stronger violence.
- 61% of LGBT youth never reported the attacks. Of those that did report the attacks.
- 31% said the school made no effort to respond.
In 2013, 92% of LGBT+ adults said they believe society had become more accepting than in the past 10 years. A reason for this could be recent laws that are in their favor such as when the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which restricted lesbians, gays, and bisexuals in the military from openly serving, was lifted in 2011. However, transgender men and women are still not allowed to serve openly yet. In June last year, the US made marriage equality legal nationwide.
However, having marriage equality in some countries doesn’t mean that there’s nothing left to fight for. In some countries, it is still illegal to be anything other than heterosexual. In the US, LGBT+ people can still, legally, be discriminated against. This can happen by restaurants refusing to serve them simply because of their sexuality, or the much talked-about bathroom bills, which prohibits transgender people to use the bathrooms of the gender they identify as.
Bisexual people are more likely to be the victims of abuse and judgement. According to a study conducted by the CDC, 35% of straight women had experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by a partner. 43.8% of lesbian women had experienced one of the three and so did 61.1% of bisexual women. Bisexual women were also the most likely to have been raped by anyone. Bisexuals don’t only experience prejudice from heterosexual people. They are also discriminated by gay people by being labelled “selfish,” “sluts,” or “cheaters.” Bi youths have a higher incidence of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts than gay and lesbian youths as well as a higher risk of truancy and bullying.
The Scottish organization, Equality Network, created a survey where they found out that the bisexual population in the UK didn’t feel accepted and that they had trouble finding a place where they could be open about their sexuality. It explained that “they (bisexuals) are misread as straight and therefore are assumed to be part of a straight community [and…] many said that biphobia and bi erasure within their LGBT communities limited their full inclusion.” The findings showed that,
- 85 % of respondents only felt “a little” or “not at all” part of a bisexual community.
- 66 % of respondents only felt “a little” or “not at all” part of the LGBT community.
- 69 % of respondents only feel “a little” or “not at all” part of a straight community.
- 25 % of respondents were not usually comfortable sharing their sexual orientation when accessing LGBT-related services.
- Only 33 % of respondents usually feel comfortable and 28 % never feel comfortable sharing their sexual orientation with their general practitioner.
- 66 % of respondents feel that they have to pass as straight and 42 % feel they need to pass as gay or lesbian when accessing services.
Another group who experience horrible mistreatment is transgender men and women. According to the NCAVP survey, “Transgender people of color were 6 times more likely to experience physical violence from the police compared to White cisgender survivors and victims.” Transgender people were also seven times as likely to experience physical violence when interacting with the police as cisgender victims and survivors. 41 % of transgender people have also attempted suicide, compared with 1.6 % of the general population. According to Injustice at Every Turn, transgender men and women are almost four times more likely to have an income of less than $10,000, compared to the general population. They are also unemployed at twice the rate of the general population. A Transgender person is being murdered every 29 hours. 72 % of victims of anti-LGBT homicide were transgender women. 67 % of anti-LGBT homicide victims were transgender women of color.