The LGBT Community in Indianapolis: Progress and Challenges

The LGBT community in Indianapolis has seen a great deal of progress in recent years. In 2017, Indiana passed a law that protects 7% of the state's population from discrimination based on gender identity in private employment, housing, or public accommodations. This was a major step forward for the LGBT community in the state, but there is still much work to be done. In 1795, Indiana, as part of the Northwest Territory, passed the male sodomy law, which punished male sodomy by death.

In 1807, the Indiana Territory enacted a criminal code that included a provision on sodomy, which eliminated gender-specific characteristics and reduced the penalty to one to five years in prison, a fine of 100 to 500 dollars, up to 500 lashes, and a permanent loss of civil rights. Sodomy was briefly legal between 1852 and 1881 when a new criminal code was passed without any mention of sodomy. In 1881, the state passed a law that prohibited anal sexual intercourse, fellatio (oral sex) and masturbation of children under 21 (what was called self-contamination) for both heterosexuals and homosexuals. The sentence was set at no more than fourteen years and not less than two years. In 1923, in the case of Young v.

Henry, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 that married couples could not be prosecuted under the sodomy law. In 1949, the state passed a law on psychopathic offenders, under which any person over 16 years of age who suffers from a mental disorder, along with a criminal propensity to commit sexual crimes, would be labeled a sexual psychopath criminal. Those convicted of sodomy would not be able to leave correctional institutions until they fully recovered from criminal psychopathy. In 1967, in a judgment divided by 3 to 2, the Indiana Supreme Court confirmed as constitutionally sufficient an indictment accusing it of the abominable and detestable crime against nature. In 1971, the Indiana General Assembly amended the law, removing sodomy from the list of trigger crimes if committed with an adult in a consensual manner. In 1997, Bloomington established domestic partnerships for single city employees and Carmel has established de facto partnerships for single municipal employees. However, there is still no statewide recognition of domestic partnership in Indiana. In 2015, Indiana passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which allowed businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers on religious grounds.

This sparked outrage across the country and led to boycotts and protests. In response to this backlash, Indiana amended the RFRA in 2016 to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. A review article published in 2017 showed that 160 convictions had been made under the law since its inception in 1947. Of these convictions, 38% were for sodomy and none were for women. Most engagements were for heterosexual behavior. The current state of acceptance for LGBT people in Indianapolis is mixed. A survey conducted by The Trevor Project found that nearly 2 out of 5 LGBTQ youth reported that they live in a community that is either somewhat or very accepting of LGBTQ people.

Those who live in such communities reported significantly lower rates of suicide attempts compared to those who don't.The survey also found that things as simple as family support and seeing LGBTQ representation in media can have a positive impact on mental health. This highlights how important it is for communities to create an environment where LGBTQ people feel accepted and supported. Overall, while there has been progress made towards acceptance for LGBT people in Indianapolis, there is still much work to be done. It is essential for communities to continue creating an environment where LGBTQ people feel accepted and supported so that they can live their lives without fear or discrimination.

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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