Is the LGBT+ Moment Over?

Recently, some have questioned if the LGBT+ moment is over. For a few years, it seemed like LGBT+ rights were the hot button issue. Then, in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Obergefell decision, legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, and President Barack Obama lit the White House in rainbow to celebrate. Since then, the issue seems to have diminished in prominence. In the 2019 Democratic presidential primaries LGBT+ issues have been notably absent from the debate stages, and yes, you read that correctly, the Democratic primaries. Instead they were relegated to a town hall-style event for which only nine of the candidates appeared. [1][2] Startlingly, in June of this year, The Atlantic published a prominent piece entitled, “The Struggle for Gay Rights is Over.” [3] All of these signs are a manifestation of the rising suspicion that LGBT+ Americans have attained their goals. After all, what is left to accomplish? While tempting, and perhaps even appealing to some, this idea is dangerous. There is a lot left to be reformed both culturally and legally before LGBT+ individuals are treated as equal citizens. 

Adoption Protections

Perhaps the most noticeable lack of equality is the absence of protections for same-sex couples to adopt children. Only eight U.S. states prohibit discrimination by adoption agencies based on sexual-orientation. Hypocritically, no conservative states bar this form of discrimination, despite promoting alternatives to abortion and family values.[4] This must change; the current conservative message implies it is better for a child to be raised in foster care or aborted than to be raised by a committed same-sex couple. This position, whether intentional or not, is untenable. States and the federal government must act through legislation to ensure discrimination in this area ends and that no child misses the opportunity to be raised in a loving family because of biases outside of their control.

Mental Health

In addition to needed legal protections, the mental health crisis in the LGBT+ community must be urgently addressed, particularly among youth. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are five times as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. [5] The transgender community faces even more horrifying statistics, with 40% of transgender adults having attempted suicide, and over 90% of those attempts occurring before the age of 25. [6]

This situation can be improved by implementing legal bans on the practice of conversion therapy and increasing access to mental health care for youth and young adults, particularly in schools and universities. More needed, however, is a cultural change. While religious faith is usually associated with lower levels of suicidality in the general population, studies show the opposite is true among LGBT+ individuals experiencing conflict between their religion and identity. Leaving is not always a good option either as doing so has been shown to increase suicidality rates even more, demonstrating the need for systemic change. [7] An even stronger finding in research shows that gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth who face high levels of family rejection are 8.4 times as likely to attempt suicide compared to those raised in accepting families. [8] Improving mental health among these youth must begin and end with acceptance from families and loved ones.

Protected Class Legislation

Sexual orientation and gender identity must become fully protected groups legally via federal legislation. Federal law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation (retail, education, etc.) based on race, sex, disability, and a host of other immutable attributes—but it fails to do so for sexual orientation or gender identity. Some places offer full protected class status, but only on the state or municipal levels, and often that protection is incomplete (Utah currently has protections for housing and employment but not public accommodation). [9] While the Supreme Court may provide these protections after ruling on Altitude Express v Zarda this year, the ideal solution would be for these rights to be protected legislatively through passage of the Equality Act or similar law. [10]

International Advocacy

While the LGBT+ movement still faces daunting goals in the United States, the crisis is even greater abroad. Internationally, the LGBT+ community faces severe criminal penalties for living out their orientation. [11] Here are a few of the punitive sentences among the 68 countries outlawing same-sex relations:

  • Jamaica: 10 years in prison & hard labor
  • Egypt: Up to 3 years prison with threat of “reformation” treatment upon release
  • Palestinian Territory/Gaza: Up to 10 years in prison
  • Barbados: Life in prison
  • Iran: 100 lashes to death penalty

Along with other human rights, the U.S. State Department must make global LGBT+ protection a priority in its relationships with other nations. 

Where to Go from Here

Surprisingly, in a recent survey researchers found American millennials have become significantly less comfortable with their LGBT+ peers than they were previously. [12] While the cause of this decline is unclear, it is likely that millennials are unsure of what the LGBT+ movement has left to accomplish. Raising awareness without articulating goals can come across as complaining. For this reason, the movement must clearly articulate its continued relevance, as evidenced by many of the issues mentioned here.

LGBT+ rights have made significant progress in recent years. Still, civil rights movements take a great deal of time; it is irrational to believe that this movement would be any different. Surely every same-sex couple hopes for the day when their rights no longer need to be fought for and their relationships are no longer viewed as abnormal. However as long as such couples can be imprisoned in countries like Tonga [11], or LGBT+ children experience the trauma of conversion therapy in the United States, it is irresponsible and unethical to cease the push for these rights and protections. 

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-08/lgbt-advocates-worry-gay-rights-focus-lacking-in-democratic-race 

[2] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-lgbt/nine-u-s-democratic-presidential-hopefuls-begin-televised-forum-to-tackle-lgbtq-issues-idUSKBN1WP20A 

[3] https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/battle-gay-rights-over/592645/ 

[4] https://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/foster_and_adoption_laws 

[5] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/ss/pdfs/ss6509.pdf 

[6] https://www.transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/USTS-Full-Report-FINAL.PDF 

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4706071/ 

[8] https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/123/1/346.short 

[9] https://www.freedomforallamericans.org/category/states/ut/ 

[10] https://www.oyez.org/cases/2019 

[11] http://internap.hrw.org/features/features/lgbt_laws/ [12] https://time.com/5613276/glaad-acceptance-index-lgbtq-survey/

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Colton Quist

COLTON QUIST is a senior from Boise Idaho. As part of his studies in Political Science he recently completed an internship with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington D.C. and intends on returning to the east coast for graduate school. He has a passion for critical writing, history, and everything political. He loves to spend his spare time reading the news or off-roading but enjoys nearly anything so long as it’s with the people he cares about. ​

Latest posts by Colton Quist (see all)

Colton Quist

COLTON QUIST is a senior from Boise Idaho. As part of his studies in Political Science he recently completed an internship with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington D.C. and intends on returning to the east coast for graduate school. He has a passion for critical writing, history, and everything political. He loves to spend his spare time reading the news or off-roading but enjoys nearly anything so long as it’s with the people he cares about. ​

13 thoughts on “Is the LGBT+ Moment Over?

  • November 6, 2019 at 6:38 pm
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    I am appalled at this article being published by Brigham Young University.

    “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Truth is Truth

    Reply
    • November 6, 2019 at 7:32 pm
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      Tanner, thank you for deeply insightful opinion. However, you seem to be missing the entire point of this article. If you take time to read the article, which apparently you did not, it talks about the social and legal issues that a certain part of society faces. Whether you like or not, members of the LGBT community are part of society, and more importantly, fellow children of God. While the teachings of the Church on marriage are clear, part of that doctrine is to treat everyone with love and respect, regardless of their values/beliefs.

      Maybe you should spend some time learning about the efforts of the Church to reach out to our fellow LGBT brothers and sisters:
      https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/07/10/mormon-church-makes/
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/04/04/mormon-church-allow-baptisms-blessings-children-lgbt-parents-reversing-policy/
      https://www.cnn.com/2015/01/27/us/mormon-church-lgbt-laws/index.html

      Cheers!

      Reply
      • November 6, 2019 at 9:41 pm
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        The Church has specifically opposed policies that infringe upon religious freedom, like the “public accommodations protection” endorsed by Colton.
        https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/religious-freedom/religious-freedom?lang=eng
        Colton endorses policies that would *force* adoption agencies to let same-sex couples adopt kids, even if the adoption agency opposed it on religious grounds. The policies he supports would also force businesses to make gay wedding cakes, t-shirts for gay pride parades, and other things that they religiously oppose. Multiple current laws around the country punish business owners with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time if they refuse to make a gay wedding cake or similar product.
        This article absolutely does not conform with the Church’s teachings regarding religious freedom, and it is another in a long line of frog-boiling attempts to normalize and celebrate homosexual behavior.

        Reply
        • November 7, 2019 at 6:10 pm
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          While your “parade of horribles” argument may catch the eye of some, it is misguided and need not apply here. The Obama administration enacted an executive order that made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. This very action is now being challenged by the Trump administration. This ability to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation is also currently on the docket of the Supreme Court. So, while you may fear that such an action will lead to the opening of the flood gates, I would say that current laws and legal circumstances would prove you wrong.

          https://www.myacpa.org/blogs/dr-cindi-love-executive-director/president-obama-signs-executive-order-lgbt-workplace-equality
          https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/02/us/trump-hhs-lgbtq-rule.html

          Reply
          • November 7, 2019 at 7:03 pm
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            It’s not misguided in the least.
            I said that Colton endorses non-discrimation laws that would force adoption agencies and businesses to cater to LGBT demands. Fact.
            The Church opposes these laws. Fact.
            Multiple current laws around the country punish business owners with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time if they refuse to make a gay wedding cake or similar product. Fact.

            If people like Colton get their way, these terrible policies will become the law of the entire land. If people like me get their way, they won’t.
            How exactly does you referencing people fighting back against LGBT tyranny prove me wrong in any way? The recent Masterpiece Cakeshop case kicked the can down the road on this issue; hopefully the Supreme Court will settle it in the right way soon. But they haven’t yet, and my previous statement is 100% correct.
            Everything I said was factual, and your counterargument, if you can call it that, hardly even relates to my points.

            https://apnews.com/cb00c8f8ade748e4b0e14ab1ee86d408
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klein_v._Oregon_Bureau_of_Labor_and_Industries
            http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/non_discrimination_laws

  • November 6, 2019 at 8:03 pm
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    LGBT “equality” and the civil rights movement are apples and oranges. First, the U.S. Constitution already guarantees equality under the law. That’s all you’re going to get. Equality cannot be legislated. Social justice is nonsense.

    Second, LGBT will always be viewed as abnormal and immoral by heterosexuals, especially the perversion of marriage. There’s no getting around this. I pitty people suffering from same-sex attraction, but, please, stop the attempts to normalize the behavior. It’ll never happen.

    Reply
  • November 6, 2019 at 9:08 pm
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    Thank you so much for writing this article. It was interesting to see that someone took the time to place copies of the family proclamation in the printed copy on campus. I think the church has made their stance pretty clear, and am not sure why whoever inserted the proclamation and scripture about calling good evil and evil good felt we needed a reminder of it. This article was not attacking church doctrine, but instead of how the rights and protections of LGBTQ members of our community are still lacking in many areas that the rest of us take for granted. And yes, I do believe that homosexual couples can give loving homes to children. Though even that point was not attacking the church’s right to their view on the family. To the person who took issue with this article, I understand the importance of free speech and you have every right to share your opinion on the matter. However, it is entirely possible to be a believing member and still support this article 100%. I’m sad to think that you view the opinions in this article as evil. In any case, along with the time you spent on sharing your support of the proclamation, maybe some more effort could be spent on sharing Christ-like love, which I assume you also believe in and deeply value. We can do better to make LGBTQ members of the church, and LGBTQ members attending this school feel safe, welcome, and not looked down on. And yes, it is possible to do that without challenging church doctrine. The article was right about the high rates of suicides of LGBTQ members of the church. Let’s spend less time talking about the proclamation (which we’ve heard many times before), and more time sharing scriptures, quotes from our church leaders, etc. that talk about other things, like helping everyone feel safe and loved, and that there is a place for them here.

    Reply
  • November 7, 2019 at 3:51 pm
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    I think it’s interesting that the antagonistic comments on this article completely ignore many of the points that it makes. While there is definitely space for different opinions on some parts of this issue, it is clear in the doctrine and teachings of Christ that we need to love our fellow brothers and sisters regardless of whether we agree or disagree with their choices. Christ spent so much of His time showing love to the outcasts of society and to people that made choices that didn’t align with his teachings. And while Christ is part of the Godhead and has authority to rebuke people, it is prideful to think that we have that same understanding of truth. We are commanded to love and not judge, not the reverse. I don’t think there’s room for disagreement regarding the gospel’s stance on supporting mental health awareness/treatment for LGBTQ people or for international advocacy efforts against capital punishment of LGBTQ people (2 of the 4 points that Colton makes!) I will admit that issues of balancing freedom of religion, tolerance, and love are harder issues, but there is room for multiple opinions on this topic in church discussions.

    I would also ask people to consider reading Tom Christofferson’s book “That We May Be One.”

    Reply
    • November 7, 2019 at 7:23 pm
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      My uncle is gay. I have gay friends. I have never been unkind to any of them; in fact, I have never seen with my own eyes unkind behavior directed at any gay person, ever.
      Love isn’t the issue here.

      Here are the issues:
      >Colton endorses legislation that the Church has specifically opposed.
      >This article is another in a long series of frog-boiling attempts to normalize and celebrate homosexual behavior. The “slippery slope” is not a fallacy; it is the most effective way by which nations are destroyed.
      This image shows clearly how this process of “poisoning by degrees” has progressed in our culture: https://files.catbox.moe/udsov1.png

      I’m not ignoring any of the points of the article. I’m simply directing criticism at things that I feel need to be criticized.

      Reply
    • November 8, 2019 at 5:03 pm
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      The proper and beneficial exercise of love requires accurate judgment and application of truth. Love untethered to truth is mere indulgence, and that is not love at all, as any responsible parent can attest. Discipleship is more complicated and far more demanding than a simplistic “love” or “truth” practiced in isolation. Discipleship requires the wedding and welding of love and truth, as we find in Deity.

      A careful reading of President Nelson’s recent BYU devotional and the second witness in Conference following, by President Oaks, is very instructive and invaluable to our undertaking of the challenging choreography of love and truth that must be achieved. Neither can dance solo without harm.

      Reply
  • November 8, 2019 at 4:52 pm
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    Aside from any reader’s individual views regarding LGBTQ+ legal discrimination protections, I will rise to take issue with the author’s evident lack of careful scholarship and bent toward only deepening and widening blind partisan divides—which is a public cancer that threatens our nation from both sides of the aisle.

    “The current conservative message implies it is better for a child to be raised in foster care or aborted than raised by a committed same-sex couple.” “Implies” is how the author gives himself the liberty to take a huge inferential leap and interpret and present ‘the conservative position’ according to his own partisan views.

    Where is the empirical documentation to suggest such a notion represents even a plurality position among conservatives, much less majority, and certainly not universal. Such a broad, undocumented partisan swipe is irresponsible, unaccountable, and lacking in academic integrity.

    “Hypocritically”? To be hypocritical is to be inconsistent with one’s own stated or professed values. While promoting alternatives to abortion such as adoption, conservatives aver that men and women make unique and critical contributions to parenting and thus such a union represents a parental ideal, deserving preference in adoption. Preferences have always existed in adoption, including religious preferences by religious adoption agencies given placement by birth parents.

    It is willfully and egregiously misleading and an unfounded inferential leap to suggest that because conservatives endorse legal preference for a certain family constellation for adoption, they would rather have a child aborted than be placed with a same-sex couple. Can the author document even a single anecdotal evidence where a conservative adoption agency said, ‘Well, we’re all out of heterosexual couples seeking adoption, so we recommend you just abort this child rather than place her/him in any other type of family structure.’ That agency would no longer receive my support. However, as long as they have preferred placements available, I support such decision-making.

    Surely it is not difficult to find some conservative source suggesting exactly what the author states is the ‘implied [universal] conservative position.’ It would be equally easy for anyone else to join in and offer a 1:1 tit-for-tat dredge of extreme progressive views. Continual referencing of the extremes and representation of those as mainstream/normative only fuels the partisan rage and animus dividing our nation.

    Typically a “Review” journal such as a Law Review combines very careful, circumspect reasoning (avoiding fallacious, specious rhetorical practices of all kinds) with extensive legal and empirical documentation, establishing these Reviews as reputable academic journals. I hope that any journal—student or professional—under the imprimatur of the Kennedy Center for International Studies would aspire to such academic and empirical respectability. I hope BYU would avoid allowing its publications to be merely a training ground and bully pulpit for future partisan rhetoricians and campaign writers. I hope BYU will train future academics and statesmen and stateswomen rather than just more Tammany Hall politicians. I thought Pol Sci was sponsoring “civic [and civil] engagement” initiatives on campus.

    Reply
    • November 15, 2019 at 5:39 am
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      Excellent points all. Another massive leap Colton makes is in his gigantic assumption that implementing bans on conversion therapy and “increasing access to mental healthcare” will without a doubt improve suicide rates for the LGBT population. Conversion therapy is already largely a fringe practice and requires patient consent; given this I think I can be forgiven for having doubts about the miraculous effect of banning an already fringe practice. “Increasing access to care” (which, to anyone with even limited knowledge of healthcare, could mean 1,000 different things) is not a panacea either. In fact, in the broader population access to mental health care and suicidality have had an inverse relationship over the past few decades (meaning that while care is more accessible and more prevalent than in the past, suicide rates are higher).

      Sadly, I don’t think your hopes for the Review and its becoming academically and empirically rigorous are likely to amount to anything. The other articles published include an ill-reasoned diatribe that’s sycophantic toward the Islamo-fascist Iranian regime (that also calls the President a “blithering idiot”) and a speciously argued article calling for completely open borders.

      Reply
  • December 9, 2019 at 11:45 pm
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    The issue we are addressing is: exactly what makes a family?
    As members of the Church of Jesus Christ we believe it looks like this:
    Families= Mom + Dad + Children. 

    That’s all there is to it. Obviously there are special circumstances where this equation isn’t applicable, or said responsibilities can’t be fulfilled- which is mentioned there in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

    We aren’t saying that homosexual partners don’t have the ability, skills, etc. to care for children. What we ARE saying is that having a gay couple raising kids does not = a family. “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a FATHER and a MOTHER who honor marital vows with complete fidelity”. Yes this doesn’t always happen (cheating, affairs, etc.) even with heterosexual parents, but it is nonetheless a commandment and firm standard. I mean as cliche as it sounds: Think of the children!
    We aren’t saying it’s better to be aborted or some horrible thing like that (I too would like to know where Colton got that idea from), we are saying that they are ENTITLED to a MOTHER and FATHER. That is what Christ would have us do and promote. 

    I’m sorry if that is offensive to those who are reading this, but I don’t think the brethren could have made it more clear and simple in The Family. Everything else that doesn’t fit within that simple definition is not considered a family decreed by Jesus Christ and God the Father that can “be perpetuated beyond the grave”. 

    Is this movement to declare that a family is anything you want it to be part of the “disintegration of the family” that will bring about “calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets”? 
    I think so. 

    Reply

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