The recent judicial and legislative victories for marriage equality in Iowa, Vermont, and soon (possibly) D.C have again brought same-sex marriage to the forefront of the national discourse. Unfortunately, the myopic media focus on the marriage wars has eclipsed every other LGBT issue. Given all the coverage of this topic over the last year, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the only injustice bedeviling the LGBT community. That simply isn't the case. While the media, public, and mainstream gay right's movement are focused on marriage equality, attention and resources are not being directed toward other pressing issues. Among them:
- Recent studies have shown that the HIV/AIDS rate among men who have sex with men (MSM) is still disproportionately high, comprising 71 percent of U.S. male HIV infections, even though only 5 to 7 percent of the male population identifies as MSM.
- "Stonewalled," an Amnesty International report from 2005, reports disturbing levels of misconduct and even violence perpetuated against LGBT individuals by the police.
- Homelessness among queer youth is reaching epidemic levels. LGBT youth make up 3 to 5 percent of the U.S population, but 20 to 40 percent of the nation's homeless youth identify as such.
Few people outside the LGBT community know anything about these issues. As long as the state grants legal and economic benefits to married couples while "implicitly penalizing" everyone else, marriage equality will be important, but it shouldn't be the sole issue in the public's eye, or on the gay right's movement's agenda.
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