Our Turn

Our+Turn

Photo credit: Courtesy of LGBT Healthy Living Centre

By Alexa Mazzola and Arei Swain

While this year has been very different in many regards, there are some things that never seem to change. There is no question that the opportunities and overall treatment of people differs depending on the color of their skin or sexual orientation.  Why is there discrimination solely based on the genetic makeup of an individual or the way that they define themselves? That question may never have a true answer, however, the question is very important due to the seriousness of the issue.

Racial Discrimination

The growing issue of racial discrimination agaist African Americans has been difficult to ignore, and has undoubtedly brought upon the voices of young advocates for equality. Throughout 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement intensified following growing accounts of police brutality leading to the deaths of many African Americans. With the support of celebrities of different races, many youth advocates have started to understand something that once was not affecting them as directly before.

Through social media, the individual stories of victims of police brutality have continued to be shared. On sites like Twitter, petitions and information regarding the movement and the prominence of racial injustice are shared every second. The tragedies of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Philando Castile and many others continue to be condemned by social media users, all of whom call for police reform and systemic change. 

Additionally, racial discrimination in healthcare continues to persist. In an article from Harvard Health Publishing, a Black patient shared her story of immediate profiling and of being labeled as trying to get drugs, but she says that she knows that she was only treated the way she was because she was Black. Clearly, there are big changes that need to be addressed in the healthcare fields in order for everyone to have the same treatment. Nobody should walk into the place that is supposed to make them feel better and then have difficulties that would not have even been thought of if they were white.

LGBTQ+ Discrimination

People in the LGBTQ+ community have been facing discrimination in healthcare in a variety of ways, including misgendering and unnecessary judgement based on who they love. It is horrible that people think that they need to invest themselves in someone else’s life, despite the fact that they are not harming or affecting anyone in a negative way. To refuse someone’s basic need for healthcare based on how they identify themselves should never be a question, it is a right that we should all have with no room for question.

To this day, discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community is legal in 27 states in the United States discrimination, with 29 states witholding full protections. The LGBTQ+ youth of today reportedly contemplate suicide three times the amount that straight youth does. This alone is a very disturbing thing to think of. If 40 percent of transgender adults have attempted suicide, with 92 percent reporting they attempted before the age of 25. If this is all that has been reported, imagine what hasn’t. Every discriminative word, action, physical or verbal abuse, makes the rates of self harm almost 3 times as likely to occur. To be short, watch what you say, and think before you try to tear someone down. It seems that things have been “getting better” for decades, but really “getting better,” is just “not as bad.” 

One of the most challenging aspects pertaining to this issue is the “why?” Despite the broad nature of the question, we have an answer. Prejudice usually develops within someone throughout their youth, and indifference and hate grows as a person gets older. Like all else, learning prejudice as a child usually sticks with someone through adulthood. While we cannot control what a parent instills in their children, we can support the movements for change one step at a time.

Discrimination against people because of the color of their skin, where they are from, who they, who they are, is just never okay. You are not better than someone else because you believe what they are doing is wrong, you will be better when you have an open mind and let people live happily without making them feel as if they are less. Big changes need to be made for everyone to be safe and live their lives in peace and love. 

If you want to get more information  on the social issues happening in the world today please look into these link:

https://www.tolerance.org/topics/race-ethnicity

https://www.tolerance.org/topics/gender-sexual-ident

https://www.educationworld.com/a_sites/sites087.shtmlity

https://www.apadivisions.org/division-44/resources/websites

Or if you need help, someone to talk to, call these:

loveisrespect: 1-866-331-9474

National Eating Disorder Association: 1-800-931-2237

Crisis Text Line: Text SUPPORT to 741-741

National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264

The Trevor Project: 866-488-7386 (Call open 24/7)

Suicide Prevention Hotline- 800-273-8255 (Call open 24/7)