The other day I ran across an FB post with the hashtag “LGBTQ rights are human rights” and it got me thinking. What rights, exactly, do people who use that hashtag believe are not recognized for LGBTQ folks or what rights are LGBTQ people unable to exercise due to government or social restrictions? Seriously, what are they missing? Marriage? Got it. Speech? Got it. Access to healthcare? Got it. Religion? Got it. Housing? Got it. Jobs? Got ‘em. What are they missing?
Let’s start with the right to marry the person of your choosing (love is love after all). The right to get married to the consenting adult of your choice is alive and well. And honestly, that was alive after the first state passed a gay marriage law. The full faith and credit clause (Article IV, section 1) of the Constitution guarantees that.
No, not every state respected that clause, but it’s there and could have been used. It’s not the state’s fault that protesting individuals didn’t invoke it. It might have been invoked a few times, but not that often as I recall. What the clause means is that if a gay couple got married in a state where gay marriage is legal and then moved to a state where it was not, the second state is required to recognize the marriage as legal and afford it all the benefits that straight married couples receive. And, yes, I recognize that many states did not adhere to that requirement.
Way back when in the bad ol’ days, this was how divorce worked. If a woman wanted a divorce (the process to get divorced in most states was long, arduous, and held no certain outcome for women, especially as most states viewed any property as solely belonging to the husband), she traveled to Nevada where divorce was legal. Lived in Reno for six weeks to gain residency, then filed for divorce. All other states had to recognize the divorce as legally binding whether they allowed divorce or not.
So, missing out on the right to get married is off the table. Which brings us right back to my original question… what rights are LGBTQ folks missing out on? As citizens and even green card holders they are protected under the Constitution and the rights that are listed there as inherent and inalienable to citizens apply to them. I am curious as to which rights they believe do not apply to them.
The right not to be harassed? Nobody enjoys that. Injunctions and restraining orders are necessary for everyone who is a target of stalking or similar types of behavior. Non-LGBTQ people have to get those all the time.
The right not to be insulted or called names? Ha! It is to laugh! A group that, in general, has no trouble making fun of others wants to be immune from being made a laughingstock? Good luck with that one! It would be easier if we all remembered the childhood rhyme – sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Holds true at any stage of life.
The right to require others to think as you wish them to? Not. A. Chance. In. Hell, sweetheart. The entire point of the Constitution is that government at every level is required to leave us the hell alone. You can’t even force other LGBTQ people to think as you do, and many of them disagree with the public pronouncements of the rabid few. So, any desire to force others to pay attention to you, think as you do, and speak as you do is a lost cause from the very beginning. Free speech means free thought, Scooter.
The right to an abortion? Well, yeah, Dobbs took that out of the federal sphere of influence where it was mistakenly put by the original Roe decision. But here again, the full faith and credit clause holds. State A cannot legally prevent a pregnant woman, nor a pregnant LGBTQ woman from leaving the state, traveling to State B and getting an abortion. I know that some states and state legislators have announced their desire to do such things and I’ve seen stories that state legislators in Texas want to prevent women leaving the state if they’re pregnant. The individuals proposing such laws are ignorant fools. Abso-freaking-lutely ridiculous. Again, all I can do in response is laugh hysterically. It’s not physically or legally possible to create or enforce such restrictions.
Again, if you want to argue that poor or low-income LGBTQ women in those states with abortion restrictions will have their “right” to an abortion denied, then it is incumbent upon you to arrange transportation for those women. Go for it.
The right to housing? Okay. Nobody has a “right” to housing, but let’s look at that question. Do LGBTQ folks want their own, restricted housing? Are they in favor of discrimination? Nobody has a right to that. So, in that case, they’re getting treated like everybody else. Poor? There are numerous programs in every city and state designed to provide housing vouchers, etc. to low-income families. And those programs are not allowed to discriminate for any reason other than income levels. If your credit sucks thus preventing you from getting the specific housing you want, then you are in the same boat as non-LGBTQ people with bad credit.
The right to healthcare? In this case, I know that what many who fall in the “T” category are arguing for is the “right” to get free or very low-cost transition drugs and surgeries. But I’m not certain what healthcare the LGB folks are missing out on due to not having a “right” to it. If anything were to fall under the headline of “elective” surgeries, I’d argue that genital mutilation would be it. You want to cut off perfectly functional body parts, you get to pay for that. Same as women and men get to pay for butt-lifts, liposuction, face-lifts, breast implants, etc. Transition surgery is just a radical form of elective (e.g. not needed due to burns, etc.) plastic surgery. But general health care? You have the same rights and access to it that the rest of us do. Yes, our healthcare payment, cost, and insurance system is FUBAR’d but that’s a different discussion.
The right to a job? Well, most of us want a job, if for no other reason than to provide food, shelter, and clothing, for ourselves and our families. We have the right to contest not getting hired if we feel the reasons given are discriminatory or illegal. But, yes, like the rest of us, LGBTQ individuals have to prove that the failure to hire is discriminatory or illegal. And now, you are the accuser, and the company is the accused and thus they are innocent until proven guilty. Same rules apply. None of us have a right not to be fired. We all have the right to contest the reasons for being fired if we feel those reasons are discriminatory or illegal. However, none of us have a right to a job simply because we want that particular job, or to a job for which we are completely unqualified simply because it’s a cool job.
The right NOT to work? Yes, you have that right. What you don’t have in that case is the right to demand society support you in your choice not to work. Unable to work is an entirely different thing and there are private and public means to assist those who are truly unable to work. In my experience though, the truly unable to work usually insist upon finding a way to do some sort of work. The ones who insist they have a right NOT to work are usually just lazy or uninterested in supporting themselves.
Alright, this is a lengthy post, and I still am not certain which rights are missing for LGBTQ folks that are in place and functional for the rest of us. If you think of some, lemme know.
Just remember, the rights that accrue to all of us do NOT include the right to have others give up exercising their rights to make you temporarily happy, nor do your rights extend to requiring the government prevent others from exercising their inalienable rights.
We all share the right to ignore your whining about the non-existence existence of your rights.