I read an article today based around the story of two lesbian moms, Krista and Jami, and their struggle to find a doctor to care for their young daughter. An important issue was brought to light when their six day old child, Bay, was refused care by her doctor based on the fact that she is being raised by a lesbian couple. Although it is not legal to turn patients away for their sexual orientation, it is allowed if the patient’s personal beliefs and morals conflict with those of an individual’s religion (MyFOXDetroit.com Staff). This was the case for Dr. Vesna Roi who claims that she turned the couple away for this exact reason. This leaves many people who do not conform to sexual or gender binaries out of luck and without protection from this kind of discrimination. This singular incident that Krista, Jami and their child faced highlights a much larger problem in the LGBTQ community. Their basic rights to things such as healthcare and safety are not protected the way that those of straight, cisgender people are. Religious rights such as the one that protected Dr. Roi’s choice to deny this couple of her services are absurd and unjust. While I do believe that it is important to protect people’s religious beliefs and rights for things such as veiling in Muslim religions, for example, I feel as though there should be a line drawn when these religious beliefs become discriminatory towards other minorities. It is known that the Christian bible states that homosexuality is a sin but this should not be used as a crutch to strip people of their rights. In cases such as this, religion should not be protected over the basic human rights of anybody. Regardless of Dr. Roi having an unspecified religion, it is clear that through her resignation from caring for this couple’s child that her religion perpetuates ideas of compulsory heterosexuality. While religion should be protected, these discriminatory ideals should not be, especially when it comes to healthcare and other basic human rights.
The issue does not just stop at healthcare and this article is just a gateway to uncovering other ways in which gay and transgender people are oppressed in our society. There is actually a legal defence called “gay panic defence” or “trans panic defence” which protects perpetrators of violence, including murder, against LGBTQ people. The defence claims that straight and cisgender people are capable of harming a gay, transgender or intersex person in a state of panic or “insanity” and therefor the crime may be completely justified. This kind of inherent binary thinking is used as an excuse to oppress LQTBQ people further in our society. The first state to ban this defence was California, who abolished it in September of 2014 (Malloy). The fact that it took so long to ban such an outrageous defence with absolutely no scientific backing is truly indicative of the injustice LGBTQ people face. It also is reflective of smaller injustices such as the one that Krista and Jami faced which are still very much alive today. These things not only cause harm but they just end up perpetuating more injustice and violence towards people who deserve the same rights as everybody else.
Similar to the way that LGBTQ people remain unprotected by the law, people of colour are also targeted with oppression that blatantly ignores their basic legal and human rights. Relating back to the Mike Brown case from last August, and many other cases where black people have been murdered by white cops with no consequence, both of these minorities remain unprotected by the law simply because they are not white, straight and cisgender. Because we live in such a white supremacist society, white people can get away with the murder and oppression of people of colour the same way they do with gay and trans people. And although Krista and Jami’s case can be seen as very small and not quite as harmful in comparison to the Mike Brown case, its still so important to make sure that we fix even the smallest injustices or else the cycle will never end. It was not too long ago that anti-miscegenation laws were being upheld in the United States to instate racial segregation, the same way that there are still laws today banning gay marriage amongst other injustices. The connections I am making between Krista and Jami’s case and Mike Brown’s case show how homophobia and racism are structural rather than individual and how these are just specific instances that represent the many injustices that are happening every day because of the oppressive nature of our society. These cases are just are just small glimpses into the bigger picture which is that our social construct in blatantly built to favour a specific type of person and anybody else who doesn’t fall into this strict category of what is “ideal” will face oppression and have their rights stripped.
MyFOXDetroit.com Staff. “Doctor Refuses Treatment of Same-sex Couple’s Baby.” – Fox 2 News Headlines. N.p., 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2015.
Malloy, Parker Marie. “California Becomes First State to Ban Gay, Trans ‘Panic’ Defences.”
Advocate.com. N.p., 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.