One Equal World

LGBT Awareness Grows on World AIDS Day

Posted on: December 4, 2015

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Tuesday, December 1 marked the 27th anniversary of World AIDS Day, held on the first of every December to spread awareness about the fight against the virus and honoring those who have died from it. Every day people are learning more about AIDS and how to protect themselves and each other, and as knowledge increases, the stigma surrounding the virus and LGBT individuals lessens. People in the United States are now as LGBT-friendly as they have ever been—being pro-LGBT rights is becoming more common even among conservatives. Because of awareness movements and initiatives, 2015 has seen some important events for the LGBT community.

One of the most important strides made this year is the national legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States. And it isn’t just liberal-minded people who pushed for equal marriage rights: an amicus brief, headed by Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, boasted the names of 23 current and former Republicans who wanted same-sex marriage legalized. And that’s pretty exciting because it suggests that even among Republicans, support for gay rights is rising, and there are likely to be fewer anti-LGBT laws put into effect.

There have been other victories, too. Lots of them. Gay marriage became legal in Luxembourg, Slovenia, Chile, Ireland, and Greenland, as well as other townships and territories; Nepal began to issue passports to transgendered people; and trans-identified people are allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military. All around the world, progress is being made.

Research suggests that 55% of Americans now support same-sex marriage and same-sex rights; in 2001, 57% of people opposed same-sex marriage. This positive change is due in part to better education and more acceptance among younger generations, but it is also due to initiatives that promote awareness and education. The Greater Than AIDS campaign aims to promote knowledge and understanding about the virus, particularly among black Americans, who are at greater risk for contraction. The Red Ribbon campaign works as a symbol to support people living with HIV.

The U.S. government also sponsors a number of AIDS initiatives, many of which work towards reducing the stigma of AIDS, an illness the World Health Organization estimates affects 37 million people worldwide.

But more people are learning, and with learning comes progress. LGBT rights are a national issue that has garnered a significant amount of media attention, and other difficulties facing the LGBT community, like HIV, are also beginning to receive the public attention they deserve.

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