When I told my gay Uncle Frank I was bisexual, he said I was lucky to be coming out in the 2010s instead of the 1970s when he did.
He’s right in many ways. Since the Stonewall riots in 1969, the LGBTQ community has made tremendous progress in gaining visibility and equity thanks to the countless queer and trans activists who fought for their lives and freedom. Queer and trans visibility is everywhere now, from elected officials like Andrea Jenkins to musicians like Janelle Monáe to television shows like “Pose.” Things certainly have improved since the ’70s, when my uncle worried about not being able to get a job.
Yet even with the strides that have been made, many queer folks keep their pride private. According to a recent study from the Human Rights Campaign, nearly half of LGBTQ people are still in the closet, specifically in the workplace. Another recent HRC study reports that only 27 percent of LGBTQ youth felt comfortable to be out and open at school, and only 26 percent of them felt safe.
Unfortunately, even in 2018, our society still isn’t completely safe for LGBTQ people to live their lives in peace. Yes, we’ve gained more visibility, but visibility is a double-edged sword. As we gain more support for LGBTQ rights, we also become more vulnerable.
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