The LGBT Movement’s Uphill Battle for Equality


The Appalachian Online

James Branch

Today, persecuted groups throughout the country are working to secure equal rights. The LGBT community has been one of the most prominent groups in the fight for equal rights, and there have been a number of advances for their cause over the last year.

Now of course, with every positive influence comes a negative side, working against the goal of reaching a greater good. Every day is an uphill battle for these communities to just have the same rights as anybody else.

At the moment, we are seeing that fight playing out in North Carolina.

The efforts of LGBT activists were at least partially vindicated when Charlotte passed a non-discrimination ordinance by a 7-4 vote on Feb. 22.

The ordinance not only allows recourse for members of the LGBT community if they are denied rights, but also allows transgender people the right to use whichever bathroom they identify with.

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This is a huge step in the LGBT equal rights movement and speaks volumes in a state with such a conservative government.

Every day, people are opening their minds and hearts and starting to consider changing the social infrastructure that has oppressed and denied the rights of so many people.

Still, their are voices coming out in opposition to this change.

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, released a response to the Charlotte LGBT ordinance saying that it was a push from an “ultra-left, politically correct agenda in the face of common sense,” according to the News & Observer.

While Democrats are passing laws and ordinances to gain more equality for the LGBT community, Republican opposition comes out of purported concerns for safety.

However, the Republican fears are based in fiction.

A lot of the fear is based out of bigoted and stereotypical view of the transgender community. The amount of fear mongering done by politicians is despicable, but there is another problem here that needs to be addressed: bad reporting.

Whether it is biased reporting that comes out of the desire to promote an agenda or a matter of  media outlets failing to fact-check carefully enough, bad reporting seems to be a source of Republican opposition.

Media Matters released a report in 2014 that documented some of the misleading claims made by news outlets across the country. These include claims about the risk of sexual assault that would come with allowing transgender people into the bathrooms of their identified gender.

The report then goes on to reference the statements of public officials and activists which show these claims to be myths. The fact is, there is no danger in giving these rights to transgender people.

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Sadly, misinformation can spread like wildfire and certain hate groups can then use this to fuel their spiteful campaigns. If people believe strongly enough in their cause, then any article, even if it is wrong, will be stated as fact.

Now, whether or not the politicians using faulty information are doing so intentionally, or are simply not fact-checking themselves, I cannot say.

I can say, however, that if you are using an article as a basis for your claim, then you should at least do a little research on it yourself first.

Regardless of the reasons why politicians peddling these myths, all human beings should be treated equally without exceptions.

Thankfully, the LGBT community is breaking new ground everyday, gaining more and more rights that they did not previously have.

Even though the Republican party has tried its best to stop it, the people are standing by what is right for humanity.

Branch, a sophomore journalism major from Brunswick, Ga., is an opinion writer.