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.  Startlingly, in June of this year, The Atlantic published a prominent piece entitled, “The Struggle for Gay Rights is Over.”  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.
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. 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.
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.  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. 
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.  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.  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).  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. 
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.  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.  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 , 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.