The term LGBT stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender”. It has been in use since the 1990’s, when the term became an adaptation and was used to replace the term “gay” to reference the LGBT community beginning in the mid-to-late 1980’s. Throughout the years, the tolerance and equal rights for LGBT individuals have been fought against the different factors that shows opposition and inequality towards them. However, due to lack of support, guidance and acceptance from the society, they still tend to experience several discriminations from the people that surrounds them. However, a few decades ago, Pride started and served as a celebratory moment and fight of people who are being constrained by discriminatory definitions of what it means to be a man or a woman. It aims for social movement in all its diversity, and serves as a call to respect and protect LGBT rights. For the reason that LGBT individuals are often at risk of being excluded in the society for being different, the discrimination on their community is a massive concern when it comes to pursuing their equality. In today’s society, no one can openly express their true gender identity without receiving negative stares or remarks towards their sexuality. Furthermore, it is known for a fact that the discriminating society and culture that these individuals are living in, was slowly shaped by homophobic and heterosexist people through time.
Meanwhile, it has been observable that slow yet progressive changes and implementations were made with regards to the LGBT community. Different people across the world continues to have social movements and yearly celebrates Pride Month throughout their respective countries, yet it is still being prioritized by different advocacies and organizations to mainly focus on the current social issues that the LGBT community continuously faces. If a comparison is to be made as to how the LGBT community is treated equally from then and now, it is undeniable that they are slowly receiving more rights and freedom to express themselves. However, even though the world continued to progress in moving forward, it is also important to look back and see how far it has really come. Decades ago, a lot of attempts have been made by people to create advocacy groups that aims to support homosexual people, as well as same-sex relationships. In 1924, the organization supporting gay rights was established. Then in 1965, the world took a huge step to progress for LGBT equality and made way for the first ever program about gay rights demonstrations that outlawed discrimination between. It was approved as a civil rights movement and was proudly led by longtime activists, Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings. Religious acceptance for gay men and women of faith slowly expanded in 1972; and a year later, homosexuality was no longer declared as a mental illness. In the 20th century, the equality for LGBT rights progressed once more. The media visibility for the LGBT community started to rise once again with the help of different influencers calling for tolerance and equal rights. Same-sex marriage started to be legalized in different countries, as well as the Equality Act being introduced, helping LGBTQ individuals to be granted with basic legal protections and rights in the different areas of life including education, housing and employment. While the community slowly regained itself and got back to fighting for their rights, this made way for the 21st century to emphasize transgender activism and the increasing usage of terminology that often questioned gender identification. With the different LGBT-related activism and social movements making a huge progress in recent years, it is easy to forget that even in present time, there are still places in this world that follows a significant culture, religious belief, or a huge tolerance for homophobia, enough to deny the LGBT community the respect and rights they deserve.
As much equality given to every individual included in the LGBT community should be the same, their experience and privilege is still determined by the country they live in, and whether that country supports their rights or not. For instance, in the past few years, the legalization of same-sex marriage in certain countries started to emerge. Few constitutions in the world were established that aims to protect them from gender discrimination. However, there are still some countries at present time that is greatly against, or at the very least, does not support the LGBT community, wherein the rights being given to them are still under threat. Even if homosexuals are widely accepted with open arms in specific places, there are still people from the LGBT community that are being discriminated for being a homosexual. Religion is not just a factor that cannot be ignored by many countries for it is also one of the main reasons why the LGBT community is receiving a strong opposition in obtaining equality and rights from the society they live in. Last 2018, there are approximately 73 countries, mostly from Middle East and Asia, wherein homosexuality and homosexual activity between adults is being considered as a crime and illegal. In worst case scenarios, some of them coming from their respective countries are already at risk of receiving a death penalty, yet cannot do anything about it. Since then, the members and advocates of the LGBT community around the world have overcome different kinds of challenges and had to risk their own personal safety to call out the abuses to the human rights of LGBT individuals. They forced changes to discriminating laws against them and continuously fought for their rights. Ever since the of the concept of Pride and global recognition days like the “International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia” (also known as “IDAHOTB”) was introduced, a lot of people started forging alliances and promoting pride in who they are. Homophobia, starting to be considered as a hate crime, is a sign that the continuous efforts made by these organizations around the world is starting to pay off.
Up to present time, it is still questionable whether the LGBT community is truly accepted in today’s society. It is undeniable that today’s society has indeed progressed, but many members of the community is still imprisoned by self-hate and shame from what happened at an earlier era. There are still a lot of cases wherein LGBT individuals are being harassed, whether it is in the streets, in their workplace, or in the society in general, simply because of who they are. they often experience the refusal to be employed in high and well-known companies because various workplaces prohibit hiring an individual who considers their gender different from their sex. Some people tend to stay away from LGBT individuals because of a mentality that they can easily get HIV/AIDS by touching or being near them. They slowly started to learn that there will always be people who cannot accept them for who they are, since the society taught that this difference is bad — shameful, deviant, disgusting. Throughout the years, a lot of violent crimes were present, taking the lives of many individuals belonging in this community and even causing some to undergo a traumatic experience and life-long psychological effects. It is about how shame and fear caused by the people around them, can prevent them from fully feeling safe and participating in public life. The fact that the individuals from this community continues to deal with the reality of being discriminated by society and causing them to not love themselves completely, shows the violence and power of how homophobia can greatly affect them as an individual.
At present time while homosexuality starting to get accepted by an increasing number of people, there is still a long way to go in terms of the equality received by the LGBT community. They still often have to prove their worth and value in the workplace, to the people around them, and in the society as a whole. Many of them still struggles from not being granted the basic rights every human should have – freedom of association, freedom from violence, and freedom from discrimination. It becomes harder for them to achieve these rights when the society continuously points out to something that makes them different from the others. The LGBT Community aims to achieve equality for all genders. Just like a normal person, they have the right to be free, secured, and openly express themselves. Furthermore, when the number of people who are part of the community that got accepted slowly increased, more people became comfortable on coming out and talking about their sexual preferences. By embracing and accepting the LGBT people, we can then learn and understand as to how our acceptance can remove the limitations of gender stereotypes imposed to them. Also, gender stereotypes, however damaging it can be, still greatly influences the society, defining and limiting how people are expected to live their lives. By removing these, it will set everyone free to achieve their full potential without discriminated by social constraints. A safe, peaceful and non-discriminatory society is needed to be built in order for the LGBT individuals to find happiness, since their rights would mean nothing if they will not find personal happiness in the environment they live in.