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Jul 03 2015
by La'Kay Hodge

Why the Fight for Equality is Not Over

By La'Kay Hodge - Jul 03 2015

What were you doing when gay marriage was legalized in the United States?

I was sitting in my room, listening to “The Last Five Years” soundtrack and knitting my sister a birthday present. I wish that I had been doing something more glamorous, but this was something that I never expected to happen so soon. I felt like there should have been something special about that day, some buildup to such a momentous decision. But it was just another lazy Friday morning in the summer when my mother came into my room and told me the news.

June 26, 2015 — this is a date that will be in the history textbooks of future generations. It’s so surreal to think that our children will grow up in a world where marriage equality is never an issue. I certainly never thought that my grandfathers would be alive to see this accomplished. This date was a victory for not only those who identify as gay, but also those who identify as bisexual, asexual and transgender. This was a big step for all of these communities; however, the fight for equality is not over.

As recent news reports indicate, racism is still a prevalent issue even though civil rights movements happened about 50 years ago. Similarly, the social treatment of the LGBTQIA+ community will not improve simply because they share the same legal rights as everyone else. Bullying, ignorance and erasure will still be problems that they will have to deal with. It is important for us to be aware of this so that now, even though the fight for legal recognition is over, we can fight for other LGBTQIA+ issues that are important.

One such issue is equal representation in the media, particularly non-satirical LGBTQIA+ characters in film and television. I know that the characters I looked up to as a child were extremely important in the development of my identity. It’s important for children of all spectrums to have role models that they can identify with.

Another prevalent issue is the erasure of bisexuality and asexuality. In other words, people who identify as either of these sexualities are told that they do not exist or that they are not equally represented or acknowledged.

While marriage equality is a huge step, and certainly one I never thought would be taken so soon, it’s important to understand that the fight for LGBTQIA+ equality is not over. Yes, #LoveWins the vote, but not freedom from the indecency of society. Let us celebrate today (and every day), but start to build an even more inclusive and compassionate society tomorrow.

Lead Image Credit: PSTU Vale

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La'Kay Hodge - New York University

La'Kay Hodge is a freshman at New York University who will be spending her first year in London! She is a gym enthusiast, coffee addict and massive nerd. Follow her on Twitter @LaKayHodge!

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