Opinion: Why Are LGBT Issues So Important to Politicians?

Opinion: Why Are LGBT Issues So Important to Politicians?

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During Obama’s presidency, gays were allowed into the military for the first time, enabling long-serving servicemen and women to come out about their sexual orientation and even marry their partners. After that, the focus was on transgender people and the establishment of unisex bathrooms. Private citizens may have different opinions on LGBT issues, but it is always interesting to see politicians throw their hats in the ring.

The fact of the matter is that most LGBT policies are written and passed by people who identify as being heterosexual. Although they may hold an online masters degree in political science or even have relatives and friends who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, their personal experiences are exceedingly limited. So why are politicians suddenly making LGBT issues a big part of their platforms? Simply put, because everyone else is talking about it.

What LGBT Issues Still Need to Be Addressed?

Depending on who you ask, current LGBT issues vary in terms of pressing importance. Some believe that more LGBT people should pursue an online degree in political science so that they can be more equally represented in politics. You might also hear that public schools should be teaching children about sexual orientation at an earlier age so that there is less bullying of gay and lesbian students.

Can a Heterosexual Politician Understand the Needs of the LGBT Community?

Teens who identify as being LGBT are still at the highest risk of committing suicide. Employers are still getting away with discriminating against transgender job applicants. Even apartment managers can still refuse to rent gays and lesbians if they can come up with another “legitimate” reason to go with a heterosexual apartment applicant.

Heterosexual politicians can read about the plight of the LGBT community, but they aren’t interacting with others who are not like themselves and they aren’t going to be able to relate to their problems. In short, heterosexual politicians can have a great understanding of the needs of members of the LGBT community, but they need to work together consistently.

Religion and Sexual Orientation

Many politicians run on a platform that highlights their personal faith, which in the United States is usually Christianity. Politicians need to identify with their voters so that they will have trust in them to make decisions that will protect their interests, which has increasingly included their personal views. For Christians who believe that homosexuality is immoral, blocking rights and legislature that would make the LGBT community more included is actually of the utmost importance. Their thoughts don’t have to be logical and the decisions they make don’t even need to protect the civil rights of all people, but these types of actions, unfortunately, help some politicians to ensure that they get the votes of conservative Christians.

Back when the recession was in full swing, politicians only wanted to discuss ways to create jobs and better infrastructure in the United States. After 9/11, their focus was on terrorism. People are talking about LGBT issues because there has been more activism on both sides and politicians generally follow the status quo.

Photo by samuraijuan

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