BY KARTHIGA RATNAM AND ARYSSA YOON
“It is absolutely imperative that every human being’s freedom and human rights are respected, all over the world.”– Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir
The right to live. It is guaranteed in most constitutions and in the universal declaration of human rights. But today it seems that basic human rights are stifled. How else do we explain the sheer number of protests and movements in the 21st century? We decided to investigate the roots of LGBTQIA+ Discrimination.
As we embarked on this journey of trying to understand the cause and effects of LGBTQIA+ inequalities, we were taken aback by what we discovered. The general narrative with regards to LGBTQIA+ is that gender has always been binary. And that pride is some sort of woke 21st century concept. That society has become too “free”.
Our research led us down a different path. As we were trying to trace the origin of the inequality, we discovered that history as far back as 1st millennium BCE was peppered with acceptance of same sex couples, intercourse and transgenders.
- Rock art dating back to roughly the 9th millennium BCE depicts two phallic males engaged in intercourse.
- Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum – two Egyptian servants from 24th Century BCE, were the first recorded same sex couple
- Same sex marriages or partnerships were recorded in Mesopotamia, during the Zhou dynasty in China and in Ancient Greece.
Where did we go wrong? As civilization progressed, how did we lose sight of our values? When did we start disregarding universal human rights?
In 2021 LGBTQIA+ is a widespread movement that is fighting for equality and acceptance. It’s fitting that we write this article in the month of June. This month is especially symbolic for the LGBTQIA+ movement. It’s the month of PRIDE and a commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising.
The Stonewall Uprising happened in June of 1969. The riots started because the police raiding a gay bar in Greenwich Village in NY. The six days that followed became a catalyst for LGBTQIA+ rights all over the world.
If you are a frequent follower of our Wicked 7 cause and effect maps, you will know they tend to be more circular and interconnected. We had to take a different approach with this particular one. The reason? The causes and the effects are so intertwined that we need to find a more hierarchical way to represent them. This is significant because there is no one cause linking to an effect. All types of discrimination, their causes and effects are interlinked that we cannot show one without the other.
The Roots of LGBTQIA+ Discrimination
Just to highlight how insidious this particular wicked problem actually is, we looked at the State of LGBTQ community 2020 report put out by the Center for American Progress. Here are some of the major findings of the survey:
- At least 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans have face discrimination in the past 12 months. That number becomes 3 in 5 for transgenders.
- Over 50% of Americans tend to hide their personal relationship for fear of discrimination.
- 1 in 3 transgender individuals had to educate their doctor in order to receive the care they needed.
Inequality is only made worse when there is a crisis. Whether it’s war, famine, or a pandemic, it’s the minorities and marginalized who suffer the most.
The past 14 months of COVID have shown us how inequalities can skyrocket during a crisis. Billionaires had a bumper year but many small businesses had to close down. Rich countries got early access to vaccinations and poorer nations are lagging behind. CEOs saw their pay cheques rise but low wage workers lost jobs. More women than men either lost jobs or had to give it up to look after the kids. And the list goes on.
And Climate Change is the existential crisis of our times. How do we fight it, when we can’t even accept and respect an individual’s choice to love whomever they want?