LGBT Challenges in Indianapolis: Discrimination, Harassment, and Mental Health

This month, Indiana lawmakers voted to introduce a bill that would prohibit transgender girls from playing sports with other girls. This discriminatory and harmful bill quickly gained traction, even though there doesn't seem to be any problem in Indiana with the participation of transgender girls in athletics. Discrimination and harassment by law enforcement agencies are an ongoing and pervasive problem for LGBT people. These experiences make it difficult for officers to effectively monitor their communities.

Governments and law enforcement departments can adopt laws and policies to improve relations between law enforcement and LGBT citizens. This discrimination prevents effective policing in these communities by ending trust, inhibiting communication, and preventing officers from effectively protecting and providing services to the communities they monitor. When it comes to marriage, LGBT individuals must consider a variety of questions. Should you get married? Will marriage protect your family for the future during retirement and death? How will marriage affect our children? Does marriage equality mean paternity equality? What legal attacks against gay marriage and fatherhood might occur in the future and how can you protect yourself against them? These are all questions that the LGBT community must consider when facing discrimination in Indianapolis.

If Indiana legislators truly care about the well-being of students, they should take significant steps to address the harassment, discrimination, and mental health issues of LGBT students, and they should abandon legislation that would make those things worse. In 17 states, legislation expressly prohibits discrimination against LGBT students in schools, and 21 states expressly prohibit harassment on those grounds. This report presents research that shows that LGBT individuals and communities face profiling, discrimination and harassment at the hands of law enforcement officers. Violence and discrimination against LGBT people in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and obstacles to asylum in the United States.

This winter, I spoke with LGBT students in Indiana, who described how difficult school environments can be. A young woman told me that she regularly heard insults against LGBT people in her high school and that she had never heard positive messages about LGBT issues in the classroom. In this month's episode of For Good, two ICRC ambassadors, Myranda Warden and Elle Roberts, and members of the LGBTQ community share their ideas. Terell Parker is an African-American who founded Indiana Pride of Color, which celebrates the intersection of race and culture in the LGBTQ community.

Miranda and Elle's experiences shaped and influenced their passion and purpose to share their stories and the challenges of others in the queer community. MAP works to ensure that all people have a fair chance to seek health and happiness, to earn a living, to care for their loved ones, to be safe in their communities and to participate in civic life. The LGBT community faces many challenges in Indianapolis. Discrimination by law enforcement agencies is an ongoing issue that must be addressed.

Legislation must be passed to protect LGBT students from harassment and discrimination. And finally, positive messages about LGBT issues must be shared in schools so that young people can feel safe. It is important for members of the LGBT community to stand up for their rights and fight for equality. With support from allies, members of the community can work together to create a better future for everyone.

Alana Gholston
Alana Gholston

Evil bacon evangelist. Freelance music aficionado. Typical coffee scholar. Lifelong travel maven. Hardcore bacon ninja. Evil bacon expert.

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