#5. Marriage is relatable.
Perhaps a more pressing concern than marriage for college-age LGBT individuals is workplace protection. Indeed, many LGBT individuals (especially those who are transgender) face increased job discrimination and bullying in the workplace. Since the average U.S. worker spends forty hours a week at their job, it’s important to protect workers and safeguard them from both bullying and discrimination. In fact, a whopping 68% of people in the U.S.–both Democrats and Republicans–believe it should be illegal to fire someone based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity; unfortunately, 60% of people already believe this protection exists–when it doesn’t.
Therefore, although support for these laws exists, many people don’t realize they’re needed: Having never been victims in the workplace or faced job discrimination for who they are, people aren’t necessarily able to relate to the concerns and fears held by the LGBT community.
On the other hand, very much like how marriage is recognizable, it’s also relatable–when we speak about marriage, desiring to be married, and finally being married, potential allies know exactly what we’re talking about. We don’t need to illustrate with examples or statistics; they understand immediately.
Conclusion: Marriage is a vehicle for social change.
It should be clear by now that marriage is recognizable and relatable, remarkably visible, and transcends age and race. Together these five facts help make marriage a powerful social force in the fight for LGBT rights.
As marriage equality spreads across the nation (and even the world), people will be more exposed to LGBT couples and being part of the LGBT community will become normalized. As this awareness spreads and understanding increases, transgender issues, prisoners and workplace rights, and defeating both ageism and racism within the LGBT community will move closer in reach. Certainly, these are all obtainable without marriage equality, but marriage equality will help us reach them faster and allow us to build new coalitions to impact not only the LGBT community, but everyone in the human community.
Marriage may be the next step in the LGBT Rights Movement, but it certainly won’t be the last. As we fight to win this battle, especially as victory draws closer, we must begin talking more about other issues facing the LGBT community–not just these, but also immigration rights, ending domestic abuse and relationship violence, accepting the asexual and polyamorous/ nonmonogamous communities, and defeating HIV/AIDS forever.
Through working together, building upon marriage victories instead of brushing them aside, we will help bring full equality to all LGBT people in our lifetimes. I believe it can be done, and I believe it will be done.