Top 3 Worst States To Be Queer In America (Part 2)
Being queer in the United States is relatively tricky even though, according to June 15, 2016, the Supreme Court decision federally protects people based on their sexual orientations or gender expression. However, with Trump’s presidency, hate crimes have increased, and queer people have had to fear for their lives because of who they love.
In the first part of this blog series, we talk about some of the worst states to be queer in America, and in this part, we will look at some other states where queerness is still not seen in a positive light. Love is love, and being queer has nothing to fear but is something we should embrace and celebrate.
The US and the world, in general, are slowly changing their views and becoming more welcoming to LGBTQIA+ people. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 63% of Americans support gay marriage, up from 44% in 2010. So, without further ado, let’s dive further into this blog and learn about some of the worst states to be queer in the US.
According to polling prodigy Nate Silver, Mississippi will likely be the last state to adopt marriage equality on its own. With only 34% of the state’s population believing in free marriage, Silver predicts that Mississippi’s electorate will not do so for another ten years. In addition, a Guardian poll found that the state offers virtually no protections to LGBT individuals and prohibits same-sex couples from marrying and adopting (a Daily Beast poll gave the state a score of -1 on gay rights).
Mississippi is also home to Southaven, one of the few cities to score zero out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. This index considers non-discrimination in employment, health services for transgender people, and efforts to combat bullying in schools. Hattiesburg and Gulfport don’t fare much better, with index scores of 6 and 10, respectively. The state as a whole comes in at an abysmal average of 9.8.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for anyone who follows politics in Mississippi. In that state, one school staged a fake prom to keep a lesbian couple from attending, and another banned a student’s photo in the school’s yearbook if she was wearing a tuxedo. In April, Mississippi passed a “religious freedom” bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT couples.
When Arizona gets ahead of you on LGBT issues, you know you have a big problem. If it’s comforting gay residents, the Magnolia State is not so livable. Mississippi has the highest obesity rate, shortest life expectancy, poorest citizens, and the fourth-worst public school system, ahead of Idaho, Nevada, and South Dakota.
New Orleans is a highlight of gay culture in the South, and the city’s six-day Southern Decadence Festival is among the best pride celebrations in the world. Outside of it, the picture is less rosy: only 31% of Louisianans support the freedom to marry, the lowest rate in the country. The country also ranks low on household income and equal pay.
This is especially important for LGBT workers, as Louisiana is one of 29 states where you can still be fired for your sexual orientation. For transgender people, that number rises to 34 states. Last year, The Advocate magazine reported that East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux staged a series of car chases in which an undercover police officer lured an unsuspecting gay man to his home to have sex with him before arresting him. Since the operation began in 2011, Gautreaux has arrested a dozen men.
If you are gay and live in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, or Tennessee, you should thank the Louisiana courts for setting a precedent. Unfortunately, those looking for more than a quick score in Louisiana are out of luck. Louisiana became the first state to uphold its marriage ban in federal court in September. US District Judge Martin Feldman dismissed the appeal because it is in the state’s interest “to attach children to an intact family formed by their biological parents.”
When it comes to hostility toward queer people, Texas cities beat the rest of America hands down. Eight Longhorn cities are among the worst for queer people, with four of them receiving a score of zero from the Human Rights Campaign. The situation for queer women is even worse, as the state is continuously among the worst places for women and has the most abysmal health care system in the country.
Texans can thank Republican Governor Rick Perry for that. Although one in four Texans was uninsured in 2012, Perry declared, “Every Texan has access to health care in this state. From the standpoint of access to health care, every Texan benefits.” But again, he’s not exactly the best authority on health, as Perry recently compared homosexuality to alcoholism: “I may have the genetic code that predisposes me to be an alcoholic, but I have a desire not to be, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”
While Texas is among the least accepting of same-sex marriage, Perry’s party currently supports conversion therapy for minors, a practice banned in California. For years, the Republican Party in Texas has sought to undermine Lawrence v. Texas, the historic Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex unions. Republicans have fought to retain language in the state criminal code that defines “deviate sexual relations with another person of the same sex” as a crime. As recently as last year, twelve other states had not repealed their anti-sodomy laws.
There is also good news for queer citizens: Houston Mayor Annise Parker (an out lesbian) passed a non-discrimination ordinance in May that promised equal access to employment, housing, and health care. Proponents of the bill had struck down a provision that allowed transgender residents to use public restrooms that matched their gender identity. However, this came only after Houston threw transgender people under the bus.
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