Transgender Civil Rights, How Far Away Are We? North Carolina’s New Bathroom Law
Update 5/16: Transgender Laws and Transgender Civil Rights Are Making Waves
Since Caitlyn Jenner’s shocking reveal, transgender civil rights laws are sparking heated debated across the entire nation. North Carolina’s new bathroom law mandates restroom users enter facilities matching the gender biologically assigned to them at birth- making for some awkward encounters for persons who have transformed their aesthetic appearances to reflect the gender they identify with.
A few weeks back we talked about Caitlyn Jenner’s new blog, which is supposed to help the transgender community figure out how to combat the bigotry and unjust persecution they face in everyday society, and even in the political arena. One focal point sorely needing attention is the proclivity for substance abuse and subsequent drug addiction within the LGBTQ community. Within this colorful spectrum of people (see what I did there?), they are two to three times higher than the “average” population to succumb to addiction, according to the Huffington Post. And no, that is not a comment in regards to their “morality.”
Addiction is not a fallacy of morals– despite what writer Tom Oliver claimed a couple days back in an editorial piece for Alabama.
The reason drug addiction and abuse is so high in the LGBTQ community? Societal prejudice. Many of the purveying opinions on the LGBTQ lifestyle are based on unfounded fear, slander, and unfortunately, limited religious viewpoints (which mostly miss the mark of accepting the children of God, no matter their differences). Of course there are a million reasons in between as to why the LGBTQ community is persecuted in the social and political realms. But things seem to be changing for the better.
Now more than ever we’re starting to really understand the esoteric struggles of the transgender community, and we are becoming more sensitive to their needs and struggles. Unfortunately, this metamorphosis of changing societal values isn’t coming fast enough (especially not in heavily dominated, conservative religious states). As a direct result of people shouting “You’re going to hell!” or encountering similar unpleasantries, many in the community flock to “safe places,” which are known for being accepting of their lifestyles.
Unfortunately many of these places, like bars and nightclubs, only help those predisposed to addiction find their substance of choice. Let’s be honest, if you feel the entire world is against you, and begin questioning your own resolve and contemplating suicide (and yes, the suicide rates in the LGBTQ community are also higher than the average) substance abuse is sure to follow, if given the correct environment of exposure and availability.
Just as it is outside of the LGBTQ community, if there is access to addictive substances, a genetic predisposition to addiction, and an inability to cope with life’s stressors, it’s a recipe for disaster. Many who seek help at medical institutions are finicky about admitting, or help those, from the LGBTQ community, and may send them on their way, without assistance. Although one would imagine many leave on their own, before finalizing the admittance process- as no one wants to feel belittled or shamed when they are in a dire need for help. I know I wouldn’t subject myself to that.
But where does that leave us? Between a rock and a hard place?
Tell us Cait, what are we to do to change the purveying image of the LGBTQ community, and empower those afflicted by the unjust society stigma to get help for addiction?
Although there are specific LGBTQ addiction treatment programs, surely there must be more resources, right? And if they’re aren’t, we can certainly do something to bring about the tides of change.
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.