More LGBTQ+ visibility can lower stigmas

From the legalization of same sex marriage to the inception of all-gender public restrooms, this nation has made some remarkable progress when it comes to accepting and supporting LGBTQ+ individuals as members of society.

However, it’s undeniable that Donald Trump’s anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, from his campaign to his presidency, has made all of this progress seem inadequate.

We  have gone backwards since Trump’s election, which is why we need to resist harder, keep moving forward and make LGBTQ+ culture more visible, especially in the media. By doing this, we can normalize LGBTQ+ relationships and important conversations that surround them, such as sexual health, discrimination and hate crimes.

A Harris Poll Survey on America’s overall acceptance of the LGBTQ community showed that positive attitudes toward the group slowed when media coverage started focusing on Trump’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in the election and his presidency. The same survey showed that 29 percent of American people feel uncomfortable at the sight of a same sex couple holding hands.

Just last year, hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals increased by five percent. According to new FBI data, out of the 6,121 hate crimes that were reported, 1,255 were motivated by sexual orientation bias and 131 incidents were motivated by gender identity bias.

The legalization of marriage equality being followed by Trump’s victory has created a setback.

Society perpetuated this setback by stopping the flow of conversation. Stories about marriage equality in the media have taken a back burner to issues related to president Trump. It was almost as if liberals suddenly forgot that they stood for something other than their disapproval of president Trump.

Society needs to start resisting with the same passion we had when we pushed to legalize same sex marriage. We need to make our voices louder and stories more visible. Society needs to start inserting LGBTQ viewpoints in every aspect of our culture and education. They need to be included in every conversation because they are a part of this society. The more we talk about something, the greater the impact we all can make. This will reduce the discomfort that some people still feel around LGBTQ individuals which accounts for hate crimes.  

As a nation, we were able to legalize same-sex marriage. Now it’s time to stop treating conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity as if they are a sensitive issue. In order for us to successfully reduce hate crimes motivated by discomfort toward LGBTQ individuals, we need to start normalizing the LGBTQ culture by making it more visible everywhere — in social media, in classrooms, and especially in media coverage.