#IfYouAreBehind — 2017 Minorities Report
“It is probably fair to say that in no country in the world can people of the same sex who are romantically or sexually attracted to each other feel safe…likewise, in all societies, numerous people who dress, act or identify as one sex having been born another are exposed to verbal and physical abuse just for expressing themselves as they do, for being who they are…Despite the decades of growing awareness and acceptance of sexual, gender, and sex diversity, the force of negation still exerts great power all over the planet, played out in violence, negation or discrimination in policy and law, forced surgeries and numerous other violations.”
One could not have said it better than in the introduction paragraph of the latest Minorities Report (2017) from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), which focuses on the attitudes towards sexual and gender minorities around the world. Before I get into my own two cents, it’s worth just understanding some categories identified and the statistics associated (these are directly from the study).
- 41% know someone who is romantically or sexually attracted to people of the same sex
- 35% know someone who dresses, acts or identifies as another sex than that which they were born
When respondents know someone belonging to sexual or gender minorities their attitudes tend to be markedly more expansive or inclusive.
Equal rights and protections
- 55% agree that equal rights and protections should be applied to everyone, including people who are romantically or sexually attracted to people of the same sex
- 59% agree that equal rights and protections should be applied to everyone, including people who dress, act or identify as one sex although they were born as another
When respondents know someone from sexual or gender minorities, they are much more likely to support their equal rights and protections.
The force of law
- Only 46% of respondents in States that criminalize same sex sexual relations agree that equal rights and protections should be inclusive of sexual orientation, while in non-criminalizing States that figure rises to 60%
- Of the cohort that agree with the pro-vision of equal rights, 85% of them agree that they are able to respect their religion while being accepting of diversity
It demonstrates that a majority of people feel they can be respectful of their religion and culture and be accepting of sexual and gender diversity, despite the often dangerous messages to the contrary by religious or political leaders.
- 28.5% of the entire survey agreed that people who engage in romantic or sexual relationships with people of the same sex should be charged as criminals
- Of those respondents who know someone attracted to the same sex 62% disagree with criminalization, while only 41% of those who do not know some-body disagree with criminalization
In States that criminalize same sex sexual activity attitudes about equal rights and protections, neighbours, socializing, and about criminalization itself all are more severe.
OK, folks. With the “consistent message that knowing someone belonging to these sexual and gender minorities has significant positive effect on attitudes”, we have to continue to be more transparent with our lives, documenting normalcy within a fucked up world. Yes, I would have actually thought the numbers would have been lower and yes, it does suggest the world might be a more accepting place, but we have so much work still left to do. With that said, think about it: almost 30% of people, in criminalizing states, feel as if for loving another human, creating two beautiful children, and trying every fucking day to make the world a better place for them and all that are part of it (specifically our community) that I should be charged with criminality. That’s a lot of people who pass judgement with hate without any substantiation. As a New Yorker, I would love to say “fuck you!”, but that’s not the answer either. The answer lies in education and awareness.
Now I must say, clearly with all of this, my family and I walk around NYC without any thought of difference. NYC is a unique urban setting where it’s hard not to be accepting of everyone, but this also makes one forget others still live in fear in other parts of the country and the world. Others can’t embrace their loved ones. Others don’t get to experience what is so near and dear to my heart. It is astonishing that in 2017, this is still an issue needing validation. Rather, it’s fucking mind-blowing. Yet, regardless, we have a civic responsibility to speak up and speak out at every opportunity, whether it’s given to us or if we have to create it ourselves. This means constantly creating awareness — whether that’s through blogging, tweeting, protesting, anything — to make our voices heard about how we all deserve to be treated equally. The key component to the survey noted people’s personal experiences with LGBTQ+ individuals.
The common thread is sympathy — knowing members of the LGBTQ+ community provided the most significant change in people’s perceptions and the most likelihood that they will support equal rights.
I, and all who associate with Bespoke Surgical, are trying to do our part. What about you?