Reflection: Midterm - Minority Group: Bisexuals
I wrote a three-page long MLA paper on the bi-sexual (LGBT) minority for our midterm paper. For this, we had to find Legislature on the subject, which at first was a challenge, because there isn’t much legislature done on the bisexual community explicitly, however this minority group has been rolled up with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. This assignment taught me to look at different points of views when you aren’t finding the information you are looking for, and it also introduced me to the way the Judicial court works.
Having a minority group that doesn’t have much legislative information on its own standing posed a challenge. At the beginning of the assignment, I was solely looking for bisexual legislature, and kept coming up empty-handed. I finally decided to think about what legislature impacted people from that community – in this case it was LGBTQ community. I was able to find more legislative information once I thought outside the box instead of trying to stick with my rigid close-minded research.
When writing about the court cases, and verdicts, I sat through the hearings of the judicial branch. This was so informative in the way that the supreme judges think, how they weigh information, how they question the reasoning behind the cases. I saw how they inquire the lawyers the same way, giving each of them a hard time and tough questions. I made me think of a “devil’s advocate” by putting themselves in in their shoes and trying to see as many views as possible to come to their decision.
It was also interesting to see that personal bias also played a role in their decisions, because their decisions were many times split. I always envisioned these judges to understand the constitution better than anyone else, and so a ruling should be at least 80% in one direction. I understand more now, how important the person sitting as a judge is, if they are conservative, or if they are a progressive, if they are a woman, black, gay, or another old white male.
Walking away from this project, it reminded me again of how unfair congress was to Obama by stealing the judicial seat left open when Scalia died, because a republican president made the nomination. Though, perhaps the seat was filled by someone who thought more like Scalia. I understand how important their role is, and how we need to make sure that we fill more of those seats to reflect the melting-pot that the United States is, so that minority groups, such as the bisexual minorities, can be protected and have their voices heard, just like everyone else.
This assignment has helped me improve my researching skills. I’ve had trouble finding articles in the past and navigating through different resources given to us, I have improved at this, though that was still my biggest struggle completing this assignment.
2A. Bisexual adults are especially discriminated against if they work around children. People who are homophobic or have biphobia will accuse those who are not heterosexual of trying to corrupt the youth. People who are not heterosexual are at risk of losing their jobs if they are outed as being part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community, as was the case in the Boy Scouts of America v. Dale. Dale had been a part of the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) since he was eight years old, and as an adult, he became an assistant scoutmaster. He later went on to discover he was a homosexual, and joined a group called “The Rutgers University Lesbian Gay Alliance”. He soon became the co-president, and then attended a seminar for the help of gay teenagers. Dale was interviewed and photographed by a newspaper, which ended up in the hands of the BSA, who then removed him from his position because homosexuality was against the values that they taught. The Supreme Court ruled that the first Amendment rights – Free Exercise of Religion “Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]” (Greenberg and Page, 473) – Protected the Boys Scouts of America. Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote that Dale’s presence “would, at the very least, force the organization to send a message, both to the young members and the world, that the Boy Scouts accepts homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior” (Boy Scouts of America v. Dale). It used other cases to come to this conclusion, such as Roberts v. United States Jaycees and Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, Inc.
2B. Another Supreme Court case that had to do with the livelihood of Bisexuals, as well as people who fall under the LGBTQ umbrella, is Lawrence v. Texas. Police entered the home of Lawrence following a call of a weapon’s disturbance, and found Lawrence and another adult man Tyron engaged in homosexual acts. Texas law at the time made sodomy illegal, and they were both arrested. These acts – if done by a heterosexual couple – were not illegal. The Equal protection clause “requires states to provide equal treatment for all persons within their boundaries” (Greenberg and Page, 466). The Fifth Amendment states “Citizens are guaranteed against deprivation of life, liberty, and property without due process of law” (Greenberg and Page, 462) the Fourteenth amendment, which has the due process clause, which says that no state “may deprive a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of the law”(Greenberg and Page, 464). The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 for Lawrence, “the Court held that Texas statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct violates the Due Process Clause” (Lawrence v. Texas) this outcome was different than a similar sodomy case in 1986 of Bowers v. Hardwick.
There have been many cases involving the LGBTQ issues, though not all of them make it to the Supreme Court. A boy in Kansas was engaging in a homosexual relationship, though close in age, the younger boy was younger than age 18. Had this been a heterosexual relationship, the older boy would have only been sentenced 13-15 months in prison, instead he was sentenced to 17 years. Men who have sex with other men are still barred from donating blood, however they can now donate so long as they have not engaged in same-sex sexual activities in a one-year time period. In legislature, there have been measures put forth, AB 999, to help bisexual and homosexual men who engage in homosexual sex while in prison by providing condoms, the plan passed the California Legislature, but it was vetoed by the Governor. Though there have been setbacks, not all is grim. There have been anti-bullying campaigns to specifically help children who are LGBTQ, there have been bills to help couples conceive to include everyone regardless of their sexual orientation. Hospitals now acknowledge both same-sex parents of a child on the birth certificate, as well as providing benefits to veterans who were formerly dishonorably discharged based solely on their sexual orientation.
3. Government has given some protection to the LGBT community; however religious freedom seems to take precedence over individual rights. So long as bisexuals are lumped up with the LGBTQ community, they do find protection, however, bisexuals themselves do risk being dismissed and quickly put into a category of homosexual or heterosexual as soon as they couple. The biggest obstacle bisexuals face right now, are non-bisexuals who don’t recognize them as being bisexual, and even some bisexuals themselves who choose not to self-identify as being bisexual. For bisexuals who are in same-sex relationships, their biggest obstacles are being seen as an individual, and their sexual orientation to be a part as who they are and be protected the same way someone is protected based on the color of their skin. Some rulings seem to believe that simply being an individual; you are trying to send a message. Religious people want to take away the freedoms and liberties of people who are not heterosexual, they want to pretend that they don’t exist, they believe that by erasing LGBTQ people from their lives, that their children will not “choose” to be homosexuals and live a sinful lifestyle. The only message anyone from the LGBTQ community is sending, is the same as any Black lives matter, or any other form of minority group message, which is “I exist. I am equal. I matter”.