Changes of heart for the LGTBQ+ community

Logan Padilla, Guest Columnist

The LGBTQ community has faced many struggles just because they want to live their most authentic lives without discrimination and judgment. Homophobia still thrives today, even with the changing times and more acceptance from communities and the support of the government in passing bills for health, marriage, job equality, and participation in sports. Now there are more than 100 anti-LGBTQ bills going in the other direction and that take away rights.

Safety is also a serious concern. Five recently lost their lives, and 18 others were injured in the nightclub tragedy in Colorado Springs featuring drag shows. No one should have to worry for their life for going to a nightclub to enjoy what everyone does — “dancing, socializing” with their community. It seems that hatred has risen and been elevated over the past decade. 

But solutions exist that may help provide the LGBTQ community the safety and respect they deserve. More advocacy and support organizations have worked to create programs that give more access to sexual health services, community centers and crisis lines to call for mental Illness and support assistance. 

President Joe Biden signed an executive order that catered to healthcare and discrimination of LGBTQ individuals, showing us that the government recognizes there is a concern and need to intervene. In schools, teachers and staff should support LGBTQ students by allowing them to use whatever pronoun they prefer, and by handling bullying not just by punishing, but educating students about respecting others regardless of their gender identity. Using PRIDE  —perseverance, respect, integrity, discipline and excellence — as an expectation for students to keep in mind when interacting with others will create a sense of understanding throughout the school. 

Mental health issues are also part of the landscape. Some LGBTQ individuals experience depression and anxiety more than those who identify as heterosexual, so support is essential within the community. The best way to show support is to create more phone crisis lines that offer guidance and reassurance. 

But the biggest concern within the LGBTQ community is the fact that conversion therapy still exists. Many states continue to allow conversion therapy. This horrific practice is horrendous, resulting in mental trauma and even more mental issues. 

It is something that should be banned in every single state. It’s heartbreaking that people who are simply living their own lives are put through so much pain. The fact that this isn’t the only thing done to LGBTQ individuals is terrifying. 

Many are disowned by their own families as well, and some end up homeless and alone. 

The world may be evolving and becoming more accepting, but hatred and bigotry continues. There is still so much work to do to protect members of the LGBTQ community who should never live in fear but instead be accepted, loved and treated like everyone else. The world needs to expand every bit of kindness it has within its heart. Love will always eliminate resentment, discrimination and hostility. Love is powerful. Love is love.