Today, May 17, 2023, we stand together in unity, respect, and strength as we commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). As a community, we understand that the fight against these injustices is inseparable from our broader quest for social, economic, and environmental justice.
IDAHOBIT is an essential day in our global calendar, marking the World Health Organization's decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. This day serves as a poignant reminder that we should not only tolerate diversity but celebrate it. It is a moment to educate, to raise awareness, and to promote inclusion, acceptance, and equality for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning, intersex (LGBTQI+) friends and family members.
Unfortunately, discrimination and prejudice are still rife across the world, including here in Wisconsin. Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are still forces that many in our community face daily. These forms of prejudice lead not only to social and personal distress but also to structural inequalities, such as access to safe, stable, and affordable housing.
Our theme for this year’s spring gathering, "Housing is a Human Right," intersects directly with the challenges faced by our LGBTQI+ community members. In our society, it's a harsh reality that many people within the LGBTQI+ community are disproportionately affected by homelessness and housing insecurity. There are several underlying causes that contribute to this disparity, including discrimination, family rejection, and economic hardship.
Discrimination in housing is a persistent issue that disproportionately affects LGBTQI+ individuals. This form of prejudice can manifest in various ways, from landlords refusing to rent or sell homes to LGBTQI+ people, to real estate agents showing fewer options to LGBT home seekers compared to their heterosexual counterparts (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). The result is a lack of access to safe, affordable housing options for many LGBTQI+ individuals, pushing them towards housing instability or even homelessness.
Family rejection is another significant factor contributing to the high rates of homelessness among LGBTQI+ youth. Coming out can be a challenging process, and unfortunately, not all families are accepting or supportive. This lack of acceptance can lead to a multitude of hardships, including homelessness when young people are forced out of their homes due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to research conducted by organizations such as The Trevor Project, LGBTQI+ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness compared to their non-LGBT peers.
Economic hardship, often compounded by workplace discrimination, can further exacerbate the housing insecurity experienced by the LGBTQI+ community. Many LGBTQI+ individuals report being fired, being denied promotions, or experiencing other forms of workplace discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity (Urban Institute). These injustices lead to lower income levels and greater financial instability, making it more challenging to secure stable, affordable housing.
Moreover, issues of housing insecurity and homelessness are even more pronounced among Black and Latinx LGBTQI+ individuals due to systemic racism. These communities often face additional layers of discrimination, contributing to even higher rates of housing instability and homelessness (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).
These intersecting forms of discrimination and prejudice can create a hostile and unsafe environment for many LGBTQI+ individuals, leading to serious consequences for their mental and physical health, education, and overall wellbeing (Williams Institute; Lesley University).
We, at the Wisconsin Green Party, envision a society where no one, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should worry about having a safe place to call home. To make this vision a reality, we are committed to advocating for fair housing policies, providing support for those facing housing instability or homelessness, and working to eradicate all forms of discrimination within our community.
To address these issues and work towards solutions, we invite you to join us at our Spring Gathering on May 20, 2023. This event will be a platform to discuss, learn, and take action on critical issues affecting our community, including the right to housing. We believe that through collective action, we can achieve sustainable, inclusive, and equitable change.
RSVP today and join us in our commitment to ensuring that housing is recognized as a fundamental human right, not a privilege. Let's stand together to break down barriers, foster understanding, and promote equality for everyone, regardless of who they are or whom they love. Our strength lies in our diversity, and our unity gives us the power to effect change.
So today, on IDAHOBIT, let's reflect on how far we've come and the journey that still lies ahead. Let's honor the resilience and courage of the LGBTQI+ community and commit ourselves to continue the fight against discrimination in all its forms, including in access to housing.
We look forward to seeing you at the Spring Gathering as we work together to build a more inclusive, equitable, and just society.