The LGBT community can truly take pride in 2015. The Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage constitutional. Caitlyn Jenner went public with her transition winning an ESPY for her bravery. Even some sects of Christianity have embraced the LGBT community with open hearts and minds. It seems that they are rediscovering their roots. It’s strange to contemplate how quickly this change has occurred. Only years ago, even self-proclaimed liberals (I’m looking at you Hilary) felt that such rights as same-sex marriage undermined the family structure. Now, the majority of Americans disagree.
The most radical changes have occurred for the transgender community. Often relegated to taboo status, this minority has made great strides toward educating the public. Celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox have proved integral in keeping transgenderism in the social consciousness. Too often have such movements collapsed by lack of action. In recent weeks, the Pentagon, feeling the pressure of public opinion, made a statement saying that transgender individuals could serve openly in the military. Such progress was unthinkable only a decade ago.
If the culmination of the ‘60s Civil Rights Movement was the 1964 Civil Rights Act, then the crowning achievement of the LGBT Rights Movement is the legalization of gay marriage. Not only did the Supreme Court legalize it, but they legitimized it to the American people. Those who had been skeptical or wary of people who could not even get married legally in the United States by law no longer had that excuse. Ignorance is no longer a defense.
The culture shift can be seen in all facets of entertainment. Take film. For example, “The Birdcage” was released in 1996 to critical and commercial acclaim. Although hilarious, its stereotypes do not hold up quite so well today. But in 2014, “The Imitation Game” was released. It used Alan Turing’s homosexuality as a humanizing rather than a defining characteristic. LGBT characters across the board, whether it be in movies, TV or books are no longer the egregious stereotypes that have plagued the entertainment industry before.
So where does the LGBT community go from here? Well, it’s simple. They must strive for full equality. A social stigma still enshrouds the LGBT community. More than laws can do, people must change the judgment and discrimination that is still present in the American people. It is not a burden for just the LGBT community to carry. It is for all who believe that all men (and women) are created equal. So help your LGBT community. Don’t just be conscious. Be active. We could use the help.