Abhorrent and invidious new LGBTQ legislature in North Carolina and Mississippi unveils the bigotry of their governments, disguised by ‘the freedom of religion’.
House Bill 1523, to be referred to as, ‘The Religious Liberty Accommodations Act’ is to be effective from the 1st of July. From this point on, religious freedom will be protected from the intrusion of the government. Individuals, private institutions and religious organisations will be consequently granted legal permission to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals, on the basis of religion – how pragmatic.
I must be living in some morphed, euphoric reality, because last time I checked, the inherent human rights of individuals were more pressing than religious freedoms in government.
Perhaps that is the point. Basic human rights and the freedom of religion have been traditionally mutually exclusive, with minute disparities between the two. Yet, maybe it has come time to reconsider. Religion, to the disappointment of many, no longer occupies a central role in the lives of every single person in society. Religion has become one of the primary agents creating divides with the community, whether it is same-sex marriage, abortion or sex. What has happened to the separation of the Church and the State? Well, apparently nothing.
I acknowledge the fundamental religious freedom granted to American citizens and the rights to one’s own beliefs and morals. However, when the personal beliefs of individuals become legalised and begin to negatively impact and degrade the lives of other members of society, it becomes a problem – not just a problem, an atrocity. No matter your religious affiliation, your personal beliefs, or core ideologies, ALL individuals are deserving of equal treatment. This is no longer a question of religion or political affiliation, but rather, society as a whole.
I am presuming that the right to exercise one’s religious freedom in Mississippi is a law that applies to the entire community. So, are LGBTQ people also granted the permission to discriminate against themselves and one another?
It sounds utterly ridiculous, I do agree, but I am merely reflecting the nature of this law. Does their deviance from Christian fundamentalism deem them undeserving of their basic human rights? Are individuals identifying with this community no longer members of wider society?
I have met many individuals and have many dear friends identifying with the LGBTQ community. Much to the surprise of Representative Gunn, they are no less human, no less deserving, no less equal. In fact, all these individuals desire is equal treatment and respect from their communities. This is much more noble than the bigoted and inequitable behaviour of the Mississippi state government.
The childish and repulsive discrimination against the LGBTQ community did not stop there. Disappointment once again jolted my psyche with the new legislature in North Carolina: House Bill 2. The legislature of the fiend. I had thought that the LGBTQ discriminatory laws had been confined to just Mississippi. Yet, I apparently cannot afford to be so optimistic. The current state of politics has me believing that we are living within the dystopian society that was once a dubious reality.
North Carolina implemented ‘House Bill 2 – the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act – banning individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to the gender stated on their birth certificate. So, are there going to be guards outside of every bathroom demanding the birth certificate of every person? Are people going to be required to pull down their pants, so genitals can be approved?
Government officials seem to find something repugnantly rewarding about marginalising and stigmatising individuals of the LGBTQ community. I become more and more repulsed as I think about it, and frankly, the rubbish bin is looking more and more desirable.
The UK, in fact, issued travel advisories two days ago, warning British citizens about the risks of visiting America’s South. I was slightly amused at this news, not for the nature of the advisory, but that Mississippi and North Carolina’s laws have become a travel advisory for British citizens. Is this honestly the state of society in 2016? We have so little respect for people and their identities that it has become a risk for individuals to travel to the southern states.
The advisories were highlighting the potential human right issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Other UK travel advisories were advising citizens to avoid Kenya, Syria and Afghanistan due to threats of terrorism, war and violence. What an interesting grouping, do you not agree? After all, terrorism is when someone acts on behalf of their actions to coerce the population to further political and social objectives.
We have been socialised to view terrorism as associated with guns, explosives and violence – but the fundamental concept of terrorism presently reflects North Carolina and Mississippi’s dehumanisation and ostracization of the LGBTQ community.
Why should heterosexuals be granted preferential treatment within society? Sure, I have the reproductive organs to birth a baby and sustain the cycle of life. Does that mean I am going to? No. My ovaries do not make me any more deserving. Why should they? Just as a person’s desire to change their gender should not make them any less worthy, nor should their sexual identity. My value as a human being should not be worth more than that of someone who is homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer.
The LGBTQ segregation and exclusion of this decade is forthrightly the modern day repetition of racial segregation in the 1900s.People are people. We are all deserving of love, respect and equality.