Discrimination towards LGBT in Washington

Discrimination is the long-fought demon the LGBTQ community has faced for decades; however, nowadays in The United States of America that big shadow has diminished in some states and cities. This means that the years, blood, and sweat that took to achieve recognition, respect, and safety have paid off in many transcendental ways. The result, homosexuality today is no longer considered as a mental disorder, same-sex marriage is legal in all states in America since 2015, and many states have anti-discrimination laws for sexual orientation and gender identity. Therefore, it is safe to say that important victories have been won in terms of equal rights, a sense of belonging, and a feeling of physical safety.

In a broad sense, many members of the LGBT community do feel more comfortable about walking around with their partners, they have a chance at court whenever they feel discriminated against, and due to the fact that many celebrities have openly identified themselves as gay, lesbian or transgender then more people are willing to accept and support the community. Nonetheless, the fact that important victories have been achieved and that many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender American can live an easier life does not mean that discrimination has been wiped out from their everyday life.

In reality, to this day there are still hate crimes being committed to people due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, there are also businesses that refuse to serve gay or queer couples, and, even though in Washington the state Supreme Court has enacted a legislation law against discrimination (WLAD), there is the thread of an exception to that law that could jeopardize any sense of stability to many LGBTQ+ employees in the Capital. In other words, there is still much to do to reach equality in terms of legal and physical protection from the authorities.

Is there Discrimination against the LGBT Community in Washington, Dc?

In Washington, DC, there is a gay-friendly environment, plus the District of Columbia is one of the largest areas in the country that shows their love to their citizens who are also members of the LGBTQ+ community. This perception has been widely talked and written about by writers from the Washington Post and New York Time on several occasions.

However, there are still discrimination acts against same-sex couples. To illustrate it, recently a male gay couple won a lawsuit against a florist business for discrimination. The Richland florist violated the state’s anti-discrimination law and consumer protection when the owner refused to sell flowers to this gay couple for their wedding.

In addition to this case, a feature on the Washington Post revealed that “Gay couples were 73 percent more likely to be denied a mortgage than heterosexual couples with the same financial worthiness”, on top of that, in cases when they do get the mortgage then lenders are inclined to charge them more for it, plus they are given inferior terms, meaning that on average they pay 0.2 percent more in interests and fees.

Moreover, there is a discussion to be held in October 2019 in the Supreme Court about whether employers can discriminate against LGBTQ employees. This case is centered around title VII of The Civil Rights Act; this milestone document bans discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The Supreme Court will determine whether “sex” applies to sexual orientation and gender identity as well. Depending on the Supreme Court Ruling, then it would be a victory to the LGBTQ lawyers who advocate for protections under the Civil Rights Act for decades.

Perception of Discrimination against the LGBTQ community

Despise of the many discrimination acts that are being done to members of the LGBTQ community, fewer Americans believe that members of this community face discrimination in their everyday life. This statement comes from a study in 2018 that claims that 55% of American believe that gay and lesbian people experience a lot of discrimination, and also a 2019 Gallup survey showed that 54% of Americans feel satisfied with the level of acceptance of gay, and lesbian people in the Country.

This shift in perception started to go down after same-sex marriage was legally approved in the United States in 2015, which disconnects the public with the many ongoing struggles many citizens face directly related to discrimination. Public perception and opinions have helped the LGBTQ cause and due to the fact that this fight is not yet over, it is important to inform about the many discrimination cases toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people to help ensure that these citizens do not lose their equal rights, their sense of belonging, as well as the feeling of physical safety in anywhere of the country.

Why Should We End Discrimination against Transgender People?

Transgender people are individuals whose gender expression goes against their biological and genetic gender; this means that if a biological man dresses as a woman, conducts himself as a woman, and he identifies as a woman then he is a transgender woman. Due to their dressing codes and attitudes as a woman- or man- that are nonconformist with normative gender role, many members of this community face discrimination in every aspect of their everyday life. This discriminatory behavior towards them violates their equal right to live free from violence, persecution, and stigma.

This reality has been addressed by many international organizations that fight to protect human rights international laws in countries and institutions. One of these emblematic institutions is the United Nations Human Rights, which entrusted the Office of The High Commissioner for Human Rights to promote and protect “all human rights for all people”; this evidently relates to the harsh situation many transgender citizens live nowadays across the globe. Therefore, among of their deeds to end discrimination towards the LGBTQ+ community is a call to action as United Nations entities, in this document they “…call on States to act urgently to end violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI)1 adults, adolescents and children.”

In addition to it, these entities warn that “Failure to uphold the human rights of LGBTI people and protect them against abuses such as violence and discriminatory laws and practices, constitute serious violations of international human rights law and have a far-reaching impact on society”. The consequences of discrimination and constant violation of their international human rights law are vulnerability to ill health such as HIV. Other consequences are related to the economic progress which is endangered due to “economic exclusion” of this community that actively takes part in many economic sectors such as entertainment, for example.

Despise the practical and more attractive reasons for the head of states to end discrimination against transgender men and women- such as the negative impact on the economy, society, and progress to the Sustainable Development Goals for instance- the basic reason to end discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community is the fact that their members are human beings that must be treated as equal. All human beings have a right to live free from “violence, persecution, and stigma,” this means that discrimination as a form of violence constitutes a direct violation to the stability and wellbeing of any human being. Thus, this form of abuse carries out a set of undesired and damaging costs to the health and well performance of any society.

Currently, many modern societies have agreed upon a set of basic rules of coexistence to make sure to condemn injustice and establish respect and recognition among the members of the given community. The foundation of this agreed upon rules rest in the need of every human being to live in peace and order among their neighbors. Every time these rules are broken, catastrophic events take place in which death and sorrow invade nations, governments, and kingdoms alike.

Thus, because every human being will not rest until he or she is treated with respect and recognition, as is natural, then society is expected- or forced depending on the circumstance- to go back on their first agreed upon rules for every member and group that coexist in communities may ensure stability and progress. Without it, conflicts, pain, and hate will reign as consequence, as it has been emphatically stated through this article is not only natural but also convenient to end discrimination towards transgender people and so safeguard the survival of a better society.

LGBTQ+ Community in Washington

How well placed is the LGBTQ+ community in Washington DC?  have members of the community felt welcomed and comfortable enough to live and start a family in this city? These are important questions many citizens ask themselves whenever they are considering a new place to live. In fact, many gay or lesbian couple consider their safety and wellbeing as a decisive factor to be certain about when moving out is required. Among the cities that make the cut, there is Washington DC, which is probably one of the top destinies to settle in for members of the LGBTQ+ community nowadays.

The capital now is a great place where openness, respect, and a gay-friendly environment feels like a pleasant everyday routine. In truth, the New York Times published an article that referred to Washington Dc as perhaps the gayest place in America. The reason why the capital has gained such reputation is due to the many gay bars there are at sight, shopping stores that exhibit gay fashionable outfits such as “bare-torso, well-endowed mannequins in nothing but tiny briefs” as Jeremy Peters would say, and of course the high number of gay and lesbian couples there are per 1000 households.

In other words, the LGBTQ+ community in Washington DC is now vibrant and fills business spaces such as Nellies Sport’s Bar, – the first gay sport’s bar- where people can grab a late dinner while they face a flat tv screen and enjoy a baseball, football or basketball game. Another emblematic bar down the 17th street is JR’s Bar, where happy hours, theme nights, and jolly customers meet to get the party started. In short, life in Washington is no longer tense and uncomfortable for the gay community that has always been in the city and for the new members that choose the capital to start a family life.

Now that there is a more tolerant and gayer friendly scenario that includes businesses driving the gay economy in the capital, the advances of the LGBTQ+ community in Washington keeps moving towards inclusion in other spaces such as the academic. The Academic University in Washington DC, for example, is openly inclusive towards the LGBTQ+ community; in fact, they include the letter A in the name to embrace the asexual community as well. This university is decisively taking specific actions to promote a respectful and inclusive community among universities, colleges, and schools.

One of these actions is the making of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, this institution’s mission is “to advance American University’s commitment to respecting and valuing diversity by serving as a resource and liaison for students, staff, and faculty on issues of equity through education, outreach, and advocacy.”  The center’s activities are directed towards inclusion by “enhancing the LGBTQ, multicultural, first generation and women’s experience on campus”.

A more precise resource for students that is in line to the Center’s mission and activities is a PDF sheet that helps them choose an inclusive university. This instrument lists questions such as “Are Sexual orientation and gender identity and expression included in the college non-discrimination policy?”, also they offer a “Trans Resource Guide” to know where to look for information about how to change your name on university records and having a new American University Card.

These spaces are being reached due to the struggles, activism, and perseverance attitude many people in the LGBTQA community had and went through. As a consequence, nowadays and a bit more each day, in Washington City events such as the Pride Parade is one of the most crowded events in Pride Month and it is named Capital Pride. This event is a street festival that is considered the fourth-largest gay pride event in the United State with more than 250.000 attendees. Another result of this community’s fight is the fact that today they are protected against discrimination by law since Washington enacted LGBTQ+ protections in 2006, also same-sex couples are legally entitled to get married and they can also adopt since 2012.