Last year, One Equal World reported on the states that are the worst for LGBT people. It’s amazing how far the fight for marriage equality has come in the last 12 months, but the freedom to marry alone is just one concern of many for LGBT people. Things like access to healthcare, safety, workplace inequality and discrimination, homophobia, and transphobia also make it difficult and downright dangerous for LGBT people to live in certain states.
In 2013, Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan, Mississippi, and California were the worst states for LGBT people. Recent, Rolling Stone Magazine came out with an updated list of the worst states to live if you are a member of the LGBT community. Here are the states that made the list this year:
Mississippi. It should come as little surprise that Mississippi, a state that has made minimal headway in terms of marriage equality or eradicating socially embedded homophobia, makes the list again this year. With just 34 percent of the state’s population in favor of the freedom to marry, it’s likely that Mississippi will be the last state to allow same-sex marriages. Mississippi is also rife with discriminatory laws including a “religious freedom law” that allows businesses to deny services to LGBT people.
Alabama. According to Rolling Stone, “Along with Mississippi, Alabama is one of eight so-called ‘No Promo Homo’ states, with laws that ‘expressively forbid teachers from discussing gay and transgender issues.’” Data gathered by equal rights organizations such as GLSEN also reveals that LGBT people are at a greater risk for poverty in Alabama, where workplace discrimination and income inequality are common.
Texas. According to Rolling Stone, Texas governor Rick Perry recently compared homosexuality to alcoholism, saying, “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.” Unfortunately, Perry’s attitude is one that is widespread in Texas, where rates of homophobia and transphobia are some of the highest in the country. Many Texas towns rank among the worst for LGBT people, same-sex marriage still isn’t legal, and state government backs conversion therapy for minors.
Louisiana. Louisiana continues to pass anti-gay legislation, and reportedly, only 31 percent of Louisianans support the freedom to marry, the lowest rate in the country. Writes Rolling Stone, “Last year, the Advocate magazine reported that East Baton Rouge sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux has been orchestrating a ‘series of stings, in which an undercover policeman woos an unsuspecting gay man back to his apartment for sex and then makes an arrest,’” which is possible because of a highly unconstitutional “sodomy ban” that is still in place. If this sounds appallingly homophobic and discriminatory, that’s because it is.
Michigan. Michigan makes the list again this year due to its disproportionately high hate crime rate. According to Rolling Stone, “This wave of anti-LGBT violence is part of the reason why Detroit was named the most dangerous city in the nation for gay travelers.” Detroit and other cities have also been called out for their high poverty rates for LGBT citizens and lack of LGBT safe spaces. Marriage equality progress is also at a standstill in Michigan, and Rolling Stone points out that there are almost no protections for LGBT people at any level.