It is critical to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by the LGBTQ+ community as we continue on our path toward acceptance and equality. This entails identifying the differences that exist between different areas. While some states have made significant strides toward the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights, others are lagging behind. The objective of this paper is to present an unbiased examination of the states that regrettably belong to the latter group. It is crucial to stress that the policies and societal attitudes that need to be improved are the target of this criticism, not the people who live in these states. By bringing these issues to light, we aim to start a productive conversation that will lead to improvements that will benefit the LGBTQ+ community.
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Among competitors such as Tennessee and North Dakota, Michigan is a notable addition to this conversation. Tennessee justifies its inclusion as one of the eight “Don’t Say Gaystates” by raising issues related to poverty, financial disparity, and the public’s lack of support for same-sex unions. Furthermore, the low proportion of LGBT people in the state highlights how difficult it is for homosexual Tennesseans to connect with other people in their community. North Dakota has the lowest percentage of LGBT people in the US, at just 1.7%.
But Michigan gets the most attention. It has a larger LGBTQ+ population than the previously named states, but it still has a startlingly high prevalence of hate crimes. Remarkably, polls suggest that Michigan may be in second place nationally for these kinds of incidents, which mainly affect transgender women of color. The gravity of these crimes is highlighted by tragic examples such as the 2013 gunshot death of Detroit resident Coko Williams, who had her throat slit, and the finding of Michelle Hillard’s mangled torso the year before. According to reports from Michigan Live, another woman had serious burns that prevented her from being recognized for eleven days. The state’s laws are deficient in pursuing hate crimes, as seen by the attack on a lesbian couple in April.
Like Mississippi, Alabama is one of the states designated as No Promo Homo, meaning that its laws forbid teachers from discussing matters pertaining to gay and transgender people (GLSEN). But Alabama’s law goes further than most, requiring that its sex education curriculum emphasize the factual and public health implications of homosexuality as a lifestyle that is not recognized by society at large. Moreover, it makes it clear that homosexual activity is illegal in the state.
Alabama is superior than Mississippi in a number of areas. Interestingly, Birmingham and Mobile, two of the Heart of Dixie’s lowest-scoring cities for LGBT people, average a worrisome 5.6 out of 10. Furthermore, 32% of voters favor marriage equality, which is just slightly higher than Mississippi and significantly below Arkansas and Louisiana. Furthermore, there is more income inequality in Alabama, which is concerning for the LGBT community as they are already more vulnerable to poverty.
In terms of how unfriendly it is to the LGBT community, Texas is far more hostile than the rest of the country. Eight communities in the state, including Lubbock, Mesquite, McAllen, and Irving, received a zero from the Human Rights Campaign for their treatment of LGBT people, making them exceptionally poorly rated. Given that Texas frequently rates among the worst states for women and has an exceptionally poor healthcare system when compared to the rest of the nation, this prejudice is particularly severe against gay women.
These problems have their origins, at least partially, in the Republican governor Rick Perry’s administration. Even though a startling 40% of Texans lacked health insurance in 2012, Perry said with assurance that everyone in the state has access to healthcare. From the perspective of health care accessibility, all Texans enjoy that. Perry’s viewpoints on health-related issues, however, have come under fire. He once compared homosexuality to alcoholism, saying, “I look at the homosexual issue the same way, even though I may have the genetic coding that makes me inclined to be an alcoholic.”
Expert on elections Nate Silver believes Mississippi will probably be the final state in the union to enact marriage equality on its own. Silver believes Mississippi will take another ten years to accept this shift, since only 34% of its people favor the right to marry. According to surveys by the Guardian and the Daily Beast, the state received low marks for homosexual rights and as a result, the LGBTQ+ population currently has no real safeguards in the state. This includes the state’s prohibition on same-sex marriage and adoption rights.
Furthermore, Southaven, Mississippi, scored zero out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, ranking among the lowest of all cities. This index assesses things like initiatives to stop bullying in schools, inclusive health benefits for transgender people, and nondiscrimination in the workplace. Other Mississippi cities with low rankings on the index were Hattiesburg and Gulfport, which received scores of 6 and 10, respectively. The state itself scored a pitiful 9.8 on average.
This depressing state of affairs in Mississippi is consistent with the state’s political past, which includes incidents like a school setting up a mock prom to keep out a homosexual couple and another school refusing to accept a female student’s yearbook photo because she was wearing a tuxedo. Recently, Mississippi enacted a legislation protecting religious freedom that permits companies to turn away LGBT couples for services. This measure is similar to the one that Arizona governor Jan Brewerthe rejected last year. When Arizona outperforms you on LGBTQ+ issues, there’s a serious issue.
Not only does Mississippi’s LGBTQ+ population encounter difficulties, but the state’s citizens as a whole deal with serious problems. The state features some of the poorest residents, the greatest obesity rates, and a comparatively short life expectancy. In addition, it has the fourth poorest public education system in the US, ranking lower than those of South Dakota, Nevada, Idaho, and Nevada.
The richness of Louisiana’s cultural fabric is most evident in New Orleans, which is a beacon of LGBT culture in the South. Within its colorful walls, the six-day Southern Decadence festival is well-known throughout the world for its joyous celebration of pride. Beyond the glittering attraction of this metropolis, though, the state of Louisiana’s LGBTQ+ rights depict a different, less hopeful picture.
Surprisingly, only 31% of Louisianans favor the right to marry, which is the lowest support percentage in the country. Furthermore, the state’s wage equality and household income rankings are depressing, which has a big impact on the wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ population.
The strict employment regulations in Louisiana, which put it in line with the 29 states where it is allowed to fire someone for their sexual orientation, make matters more difficult. The depressing statistic for transgender people rises to 34 states.
Similar to Texas, Louisiana has an unlawful sodomy rule that was recently upheld by a resounding 66-to-27 majority vote. Advocate magazine revealed that this anti-gay law is aggressively implemented, exposing planned operations by East Baton Rouge sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux that target gullible gay males and end in arrests.
Unfortunately, the legal system in Louisiana creates even more barriers to the LGBTQ+ community’s search for deep ties. A major hurdle has been the state’s steadfast insistence on maintaining the marriage ban in federal court, citing the state’s interest in reunifying children with their biological parents in intact homes. Notably, this setback is exacerbated by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman’s dismissal of appeals, which casts a shadow over LGBTQ+ people in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee and sets a troubling precedent that restricts their rights. Louisiana’s courts have an impact on the LGBTQ+ population in the region as a whole and have influence beyond state lines.