Yesterday was the last day of June and also the last day of Pride. We are all fortunate to have the opportunity to celebrate this very special month. For many people, this is a dream come true; fighting for LGBTQ rights and acceptance has been a long, uphill battle. As a matter of fact, Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court case that decided whether same-sex marriage has legal standing and recognition in all 50 states, happened only in 2015, 6 years ago.
While LGBTQ+ people in the United States are able to enjoy this month, it’s unfortunate that some countries and states continue to treat LGBTQ people with contempt: Hungary passed a law that "ban the representation of any sexual orientation besides heterosexual as well as gender change information in school sex education programs, or in films and advertisements aimed at anyone under 18.” Six states currently prohibit schools from teaching students about homosexuality.
While the disparity between those that are for and against LGBTQ+ rights are huge, there has been progress. Recently, Taiwan had legalized same-sex marriage back in 2019. And other countries are showing signs of being more open. HRC listed these countries to watch out for in 2021 for marriage equality: Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Chile, Czech Republic.
While there is a long way to go for LGBTQ+ equality in all countries, I remain unflinchingly optimistic. I say this because I once interned at an LGBTQ+ non-profit, and being able to see a group of people who worked endlessly to make marriage equality happen is truly amazing. It was through my internship that I was able to meet Edie Windsor, who had sued the government over the estate of her wife because the federal government didn’t recognize her marriage due to section 3 of DOMA which defined marriage as something that’s between a man and a woman. At one point, I am sure that the people involved with Edie’s court case felt that there were so many things that people hadn’t thought would be possible, at least in their lifetime. The fact that same-sex marriage was able to become legalized and have a high level of support in conservative countries (and even in some states) proves that there is still room for improvement.