In late January, Oklahoma state Representative Sally Kern (R) and Oklahoma Congressman James Lankford (R), found solidarity in mutual prejudice in a shared bid to “use the power of humiliation” in the words of Lankford to prevent the government in providing health services for the LGBT community.
Kern, known for her conservative views and controversial statements on matters of women, minorities, and homosexuality, made a complaint to Lankford, who represents Oklahoma’s 5th district. At a constituent meeting held by Lankford, Kern complained about the existence of a substance abuse treatment program geared toward LGBT individuals.
“About two percent of the conference is dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues,” she said. “Ninety-eight percent is doing indoctrination or pushing the homosexual agenda. This is what our president is doing. This is what our president is doing. He has a federal agency doing it. Our state, the Oklahoma Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department, put this conference on and is indoctrinating our citizens who are totally against this.”
Lankford is also notable for his advocacy against anti-discrimination legislation for LGBT employees in the workplace. He said sexual orientation was a choice. In his reassurances to Kern he said, "Some of those things you have the power of humiliation where you can raise it and put in sunlight." He added that LGBT groups "love functioning in the dark."
Various research shows that individuals who identify as LGBT are more likely to engage in substance abuse. Most studies attribute this fact to the idea that LGBT individuals turn to drugs and alcoholism as a means of dealing with the rejection of their sexual identity and/or orientation from family, friends, and society at large. For example, gay and transgendered people are more likely to smoke compared to their counterparts and show some of the highest rates within the population of doing so.
So let’s add it up, shall we? Math has never been my strongest suit but hatred can easy to calculate and tangible in comparisons to imaginary numbers.
Rampant Homophobia + Low Self Esteem + Feelings of Loneliness and Despair – A Decent Support Network = Destructive Methods In Coping With Pain
Goodness forbid we have a “homosexual agenda” meant to aid those in need and grossly discriminated against. It’s a shame that we still live in a country where our elected officials (which reflects just as poorly on the voters putting them in office) feel threatened enough to oppose what ought to be basic rights.
President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address was the first time an inaugural speech openly covered gay rights. He discussed same sex marriage and the violent Stonewall riots that took place in the 1960s that paved a road for the modern day gay rights movement. Critics condemned the president’s speech for being “too liberal” in addressing social concerns like this and not bipartisan enough in encouraging cooperation from his opposition.
My question is, why does there continue to be conflict and prejudice when it comes to homosexuality or gender interpretation? Why are our European contemporaries way ahead of the curve when it comes to marriage equality? Homosexuality is not corruption or an agenda out to destroy the oh-so fragile values of a heterocentric society, contrary to popular belief.
You don’t need math or science to make an educated guess that if LGBT equality was made mainstream, their substance abuse and suicide rates (including attempts which are higher than the general populace) would decrease.
So why do we continue to allow ignorance and intolerance to hold us back?