11 Things That Will Be As Outdated As Banning Gay Marriage In 20 Years, Because Trans People Deserve Love, Too
A not-so-long time ago in a galaxy right here, interracial marriage was illegal. Until 1967, if two people on opposite ends of the skin color rainbow wanted to do something as ridiculous as have a wedding or be considered "family" if their loved one ended up in the hospital, well, tough luck. Today, interracial couples still have 99 problems, but getting married ain't one. And as of 2004, gay couples started to get the same good news. But finally, as of today, same-sex marriage bans have been ruled unconstitutional .
Our parents and all the parents before them grew up in a world where being gay was not OK. The movement to legalize it didn't even start until the 1970s, and it wasn't until 2012 that Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first states to legalize it through popular vote (Massachusetts was the first state to legalize it at all, but it was through a Supreme Court decision). It already feels like it's been ages since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was a thing or the sight of a same-sex wedding was a surprise.
After spending most of my adult life watching people who identify as LGBTQ get more and more of the rights they should have had a long freaking time ago, it's crazy to think that my future kids will never know a world that doesn't allow two consenting adults to get married just because their genitals look the same. Just as the concept of forbidding interracial couples to get hitched seems like something that should have happened 200 years ago instead of less than 50 years ago, future generations are going to be shocked that there was ever a time when it was disturbingly common for parents to kick their kids out of the house for coming out.
Just as banning same-sex marriage will finally be an outdated concept, there are plenty of other bizarre (and terrible) ways we're currently making the world a worse place to live for those around us. But with the wonderful way our society is progressing, something tells me that these issues will be a lot smaller in about 20 years.
Even though they represent the "T" in "LGBTQ," it only takes a moment of looking up people's reactions to Caitlyn Jenner to realize that many people who fully support gay rights do not support people switching up their gender. I could go on for hours about society's construction of gender norms, how "crossdressing" should really just be called "wearing clothes," or how it's kind of messed up for someone to get offended by someone else deciding that their heart doesn't match their genitals. But really, the shocking discovery by Injustice at Every Turn that revealed 41 percent of transgender people have attempted suicide should be a metaphorical slap upside the head for those who believe that the way we treat trans people is acceptable. It's going to be a long, uphill road, but I think that a couple of decades will be enough time for there to be significant changes in the way we treat those who identify as transgender.
2. Banning Marijuana
Despite the fact that it's far less dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes and even contains some health benefits, only 23 states have laws that permit the use of marijuana in some form. Only four states (Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska) allow recreational use of the plant. Quite frankly, this is a bit ridiculous. Legalizing pot would help create new jobs, help the economy through its taxation, allow law enforcement to focus on more important issues, and take power out of the hands of drug cartels. And this isn't just speculation — Colorado has seen first-hand how arrests decline and economies boom after legalizing this drug. I don't consume weed myself, but I hope that by the time I have kids, our country will have taken a more open-minded approach to the high life.
3. Eating Overly-Processed Foods
I'm pretty sure it would take actual nuclear war to bring down McDonald's (and even then they'd probably just create a campaign for glowing hamburgers), but we're all slowly but surely beginning to realize that all the synthetic "ingredients" used to make a lot of the stuff we get from the grocery store and big chain restaurants aren't all that good for us. More restaurants are offering healthier options such as salad or apple slices, and Taco Bell recently announced that they're taking all the icky additives out of their menu items. But hopefully, the phrase "made with real beef" won't be such a big deal in the near future.
Many people who are against gay marriage for religious reasons believe that making polyamory mainstream is the next sinful step that our country is going to take, and to that, I say, "Cool." My jealousy levels are about 10 times above where they need to be to have a healthy polyamorous relationship, but there are plenty of consenting adults who have open relationships, swing, or are in long-term relationships with multiple people. It's not for everyone, but perhaps the future will be a little more open to people who want to be a little more open with their relationships... especially since plenty of people in religious texts had more than one spouse.
5. Our Treatment Of Homeless People
We turn up our noses to them on the streets, call them "lazy," and refuse to let them enter public places. Honestly, it's appalling how we treat the homeless. The people we pass by every day on the sidewalk come from all walks of life. Some have lost all hope after being unable to find a job in this economy, others are suffering from mental illness, and according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, nearly 50,000 veterans are without a roof over their heads on any given night. I'll be the first to admit that I'm far from perfect when it comes to helping my fellow human beings, but I hope and believe that in another few years, the idea of a person berating a homeless man for offering them his own money will be completely unheard of.
6. Climate Change Denial
If someone told you today that the Earth was flat, you would laugh at them, weep for the future, and show them a history book, and I get the feeling that's how we'll react to those who deny climate change in a couple of decades. Even though there's plenty of evidence now that global warming is a very real thing, there are plenty of "truthers" out there who still think it's all a hoax to make us, I don't know, take better care of our planet or something. Hopefully, their children will be a bit more educated than they are.
7. Sports Teams Named After Races
The "people" kind of races, not the "sports car" kind of races. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, how is it possible that it's 2015 and people still think it's OK to have sports teams with names like the "Coachella Valley Arabs?" The Washington Redskins have gotten the most flack over their team name in the past few years, but they're definitely not the only ones who think it's ok to use a race of people as a sports mascot. My own high school's team name was the "Indians," but somehow I feel that if their mascot were an actual person from India, people would be a lot less ok with it. It's finally starting to click for people that naming a team after someone's race is a little more than weird, so hopefully, it will just take a few more years for the entire US population to do a full-body cringe when they think of this period in history.
8. Our Treatment Of People With Mental Illness
If you saw a man with a broken leg sitting on the street, you'd probably help him. Unfortunately, you probably wouldn't do the same thing for a homeless person with a debilitating mental illness. In the past, those who suffered from mental disorders were thrown into insane asylums and "treated" using despicable, medieval medical techniques. Today, we might not be drilling holes in people's heads to treat mental disorders, but many people do have a "get over it" mentality that is making it extremely hard for those with mental illness to even feel good about asking for help. As a result, many people afflicted with it end up homeless, suicidal, incarcerated, or even homicidal. One day, we're going to look back on the way we ignored mental illnesses and shake our heads in shame.
9. Factory Farming
If you made a dog spend its entire life in a cage so small it couldn't even turn around or scalded hundreds of bunnies alive, there would be outrage. But we give money to companies who commit these same atrocities (and much, much worse) to thousands of pigs, chickens, cows, and turkeys every day. Animals intended for human consumption aren't protected by the same laws that our pets are, so livestock companies are allowed to subject their creatures to horrendous abuse without any penalty. More and more major supermarkets are beginning to buy their animal products from suppliers who follow more humane standards of raising livestock, and hopefully it's only a very short matter of time before all livestock is raised with kindness. And with the creation of in-vitro meat, a more human, environmentally-friendly future might be closer than we think!
Just as WWII gave American citizens a pretty terrible (though thankfully temporary) attitude towards Japanese people, 9/11 has caused people to really freak out about people from the Middle East. The rate of anti-Muslim hate crimes is five times higher than it was before 9/11 happened, and even though white people are the ones committing over 45 percent of all US homicides and 80 percent of the people committing school shootings, nobody looks at them in fear when they pass them on the street. Terrible people come from all religions, races, and countries, and I really think that 2035 will be part of a new era when we'll finally grow out of the anti-Islam attitude.
Just as it's bizarre to think that women were once shamed for kissing other women, people born a couple decades into the future will be shocked when they learn that women were once shamed for having sex while their male counterparts were celebrated for it. I don't think sexism in general is going away any time soon, but even in the past five years, we've seen a drastic change in the public's attitude towards how open women are with having sex. We're definitely not where we need to be yet (and we have a long way to go in many other countries), but there's definitely a light at the end of the tunnel for future generations of women who just want to have sex.
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