These days, our society claims to promote tolerance, yet LGBT people still face outrageous and systematic oppression. These are the reasons why we must struggle:
- Over 1 in 4 LGBT youth who come out to their parents are forced to leave home. Today, between 20-40% of the estimated 1.6 million homeless youth in the U.S. identify as LGBT. They often suffer violence, discrimination, and psychological abuse at shelters (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2006).
- Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year (Gay and Lesbian Student Education Network).
- 44% of students reported being physically harassed and 22% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation (National School Climate Survey, 2007). These statistics are even worse for transgender youth.
- Suicide rates for LGBT youth are estimated to be up to four times higher than their heterosexual peers.
- Same-sex marriage is still prohibited in 44 states, and thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act gays and lesbians are prevented from receiving the 1,138 benefits accorded by the federal government alone based on marital status.
- In 30 states, it is still legal to fire someone on the basis of sexual orientation. It is legal to fire someone for being transgender in 38 states. It remains illegal to serve in the military and be openly gay.