The 21st Century has brought many changes to the LGBTQ+ community, some bad, many good, and although we have come far, we have much further to go.

No one country is exactly alike. From cultural differences, to religious beliefs, but living in the United States in the 21st Century, it becomes easy to forget that other countries have yet to come as far as the U.S when it comes to LGBTQ+. There are still many countries that punish people for being part of the community. Such countries as Yemen, where, if you are a married man who was found being with another man in physical or emotional ways, you are sentenced to death by stoning. Unmarried men are sentenced to whipping, or one year in prison. As for women, they are sentenced with up to seven years in prison.

Other countries such as Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Somalia have punishments ranging from whipping, to prison sentences, to even death. Another example is United Arab Emirates, where lawyers and other experts cannot agree on if the law prescribes the death penalty for consensual homosexual acts, or only for rape. There, homosexual marriage is banned, and all sexual acts outside of marriage are banned as well. This just shows that a lot of the world still has so far to go for the LGBTQ+ community, and acceptance of them.

June 26th, 2015, Is a revolutionary date for the LGBTQ+ community in the U.S, the day when gay marriage became legalized. Although now legal, churches and other marriage establishments still have their right to deny marrying a couple, and many places do when it comes to same-sex marriage. In Michigan, a mere 48 years ago (1970), Episcopal Bishop decided to withhold funds to the Detroit church for welcoming gays into the church to have Gay Liberation Meetings. In 1995, Gerry Crane, a then Byron School teacher, openly admitted to having a same-sex relationship with Randy Block. This caused an uproar in the school, with parents demanding that Crane be fired, eventually he negotiated his resignation. Although there terrible things happened, there is also good, showing how far we have come.

Such things as the comic strip Cool Jerk and Homo Girl (1994) were released, bringing  the straight and gay communities together. As well as  Detroit Reverend Renee McCoy who played a huge role in gay and lesbian activism both locally and nationally by founding Full Truth Unity Fellowship Church. All these things, both bad and good, show how far we have come in Michigan alone.

Many schools around the world have clubs and groups such as The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), and our school has recently adopted this as well. The first meeting was held on Thursday, Oct. 11th, in the conference room, for both first and second lunch. These meetings will be held twice month, and are to create a safe school community where students feel welcome and supported, no matter sexual orientation or gender identity. These meetings welcome anyone, as long as you are supportive, and agree to be confidential. This is not a place for hate, but rather love and support for one another, which is much overdue. The meetings do not require a sign-up, and there is no pressure as to when you want to come or not. This is a safe, loving, non-judgemental group, that welcomes everyone. The next meeting will be held on Oct. 25th, during both lunches.

At the end of it all, the world has come so far when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, but we still have so far to go, and I believe we will get there, with enough love, care, and support.  Information gathered from the following site:

https://www.lib.umich.edu/online-exhibits/exhibits/show/lgbtheritage

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