Social Issue and Impacted Population Description
One of the significant social issues affecting Americans and people around the world is the issue of LGBTQ+ rights, where people are segregated depending on their sexual orientation and gender identity. People have forgotten that Lgbtq+ rights are also human rights, and despite religion or culture, people of different gender identities still need to be treated like any other person considered to be “normal” from the context of societal norms. The Lgbtq+ community is always considered different from other people of their different sexual orientation; some people do not consider it a natural thing, so they are constantly discriminated against in schools and the workplace. Therefore, the Lgbtq+ population is always excluded from many things because of their sexual orientation despite the national policy of treating everyone without discrimination because of gender or sexual orientation. They are made a minority in the community, making them feel like they are doing something wrong and should not have the gender identity they have, making them live in fear and insecurity that is unhealthy for the American society.
On many occasions, the population in the LGBTQ community find it difficult to openly talk about their sexual orientation in many spaces that should accept them, like schools and their workplaces, because that means that they will be excluded from participating in some of the activities every other person can take part in. there have been cases where some people in the community commit suicide because they cannot handle the level of discrimination and persecution they face from the community even when they have not done anything to harm anyone. Failure to recognize that the LGBTQ+ community also has similar human rights like any other human has driven people to act in the worst possible ways against them in religion, culture, or traditional beliefs without considering their health or the possible outcomes. For example, many minors have been put through “conversion therapy” by their parents, who believe that being gay or transgender is a stage, a curse, or an occurrence that should be reversed using therapy (Conine et al., 2022). These actions, especially on young people, make them believe that they do not belong and might end up ending their lives to escape it all.
One of how LGBTQ+ rights are suppressed or protected is through policymakers’ policies into law. According to a report in American Progress by Medina et al. (2021), the Trump administration promoted discriminatory policies and infringed on the Lgbtq+ rights, which led to the creation of barriers for the population from accessing some of the essential services, including healthcare and other government services. One of the current policies in Florida that are meant to infringe on the Lgbtq+ rights is the “Don’t say gay” bill which was passed on February 24 and March 8 by the Florida House of Representatives and the state Senate respectively. The bill is meant to restrict teachers and educators from talking about gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms. Critics of the Bill have not kept silent, noting that the bill will “effectively silence vulnerable LGBTQ+ students and hinder or harm their personal development while potentially violating educators’ freedom of speech and First Amendment Rights” (Woodward, 2022). Bills like this put the population in a specific bracket wherein they cannot openly talk about what they believe in because they will face charges and can be taken to court for going against the legislation. They also prove the majority of the societal belief that the population should be segregated from the rest of the population in one way or another. Like any other student or worker, the LGBTQ+ population also have rights to the same opportunities, the right to participate in activities and engage with other people without being segregated, the right to access health care, the right to government services, and the right to be a part of the team. Hunter et al. (2021) note that “people with LGBTQ+ identities have inherent rights to dignity, access to essential health services, and equal and fair treatment.” Unfortunately, this is not always the case for the LGBTQ+ population in many states that do not extend equal rights and protection.
Policy Solution OR Amended Policy
The potential Trauma-Informed proposed policy solution is essential in integrating the provision of services to the population and ensuring they have quality health care. The policy solution is in line with the Constitution of the United States, so it will be difficult for those who would oppose the proposed policy to go to court with evidence that it is not aligned with the constitution and, therefore, null. The proposed “Protection for LGBTQ+ Rights” policy would work to protect the LGBTQ+ population against inequality and discrimination, including giving minors the freedom to be open about their gender identity without being subjected to conversion therapy. This means that every person in the LGBTQ+ community in Florida will have equal rights to healthcare, employment, and education. Anyone found to discriminate against them, whether parents, teachers or employers, would be subjected to a penalty by the law.
The Policy Goals
A primary goal is to ensure equal treatment and dignity for the LGBTQ+ population in all circumstances, including schools and workplaces, according to the United States constitution. The policy will ensure that the LGBTQ+ students are not discriminated against and are protected by the law so that they are given the same opportunities, have the right to free speech, can freely come out to other people about their gender identity whether they are at school or home and can have conversations about the same with their parents, teachers or members of society without being shunned. Another goal is to ensure that the LGBTQ+ population is not treated as outcasts in public places, and while people of certain religions can practice their religious practices and are not obligated to protect beliefs they do not believe in, they should be accepting of the differences in public entities. Another goal of the proposed policy is to ensure the emotional and physical safety of the population. The policy should also maximize trustworthiness, sharing power, and communication. It also needs to focus on empowering the population and showing them that they are not different as they also have the same human rights as other people. The ultimate goal of the proposed policy is to ensure equality at every level, of which those who do not exercise it would be liable for charges under the law.
Forms of benefit for the policy
The policy will benefit the LGBTQ+ population in various settings to have access to care, freedom of speech without restrictions, access to equal opportunities, and enhanced service delivery for them. The policy addresses the traumatization that comes with the issue of LGBTQ+ rights through the consequences that come as a result of segregating the vulnerable population like anxiety, suicidal ideation, hopelessness, chronic depression, and fear. When the population is protected against discrimination and given the same dignity as other people in society, they will be able to develop a sense of belonging and importance that will effectively reduce oppression, victimization, or re-traumatization. Some ways of reducing trauma include providing safety, inclusiveness, empowerment, transparency, and even trustworthiness, and the policy will work to ensure that the population is provided with these principles.
The policy will also benefit the population by ensuring they have equal access to healthcare, government, and other human services through protection from discrimination and equal and fair treatment. The LGBTQ+ population does not have access to care even during trauma because they are marginalized for their gender identity and thus not given the same human rights, dignity, and equal treatment. Therefore, when a policy is put in place that forbids society from giving unequal treatment and discriminating against the population based on their sexual orientation, it will ultimately increase the access to care for LGBTQ+ patients who have been traumatized and give them access to the same opportunities in the service industry, schools and in employment.
The eligibility criteria for the social policy
The eligibility criteria for the social policy include being an American citizen from the LGBTQ + population. Therefore, the people protected by the policy can be of any gender, age, race, religion, disease, or disability and can be working anywhere, except for the private entities owned by people whose religion opposes LGBTQ+. In such cases, the social policy cannot protect them at their workplace because it is not a public entity owned by the state.
Action Plan & Sustainability
Suppose the proposed policy is enacted into legislation. In that case, an essential step in ensuring that the proposed policy is helpful for the population is by successfully implementing it in the state with all the stakeholders aware of the provisions in the social policy.
The administrative considerations for the implementation of the social policy
The first administrative consideration is administrative commitment, where the leaders from different organizations among the stakeholders need to show a long-lasting commitment to the social policy. At this point, the drivers of the policy are chosen so that they are given training on the basics of the policy so that they can work with the population to ensure they are protected. Once the administrative commitment is in place, they can then set goals and milestones for the policy to examine its outcome and whether it has achieved the desired success. However, the social policy needs to be approved by specific bodies before implementation. Another essential part of implementing the social policy is ensuring that there is optimal use of the available resources so that the vulnerable population can get as many benefits as possible with the policy. The administrators also need to ensure that the social policy being implemented is in line with the Government strategies and legislation, meaning that as time goes by, they can review and amend the social policy in line with the evaluated outcomes and Government strategies. Therefore, the primary administrative considerations for implementing the social policy include hiring in line with the policy, training, and ensuring administrative commitment, resulting in as many people from the LGBTQ+ community benefitting from the policy.
Policy finance and sustainability in the long run
The government can initially finance the policy through taxation, so it is crucial to use all the resources available during implementation to ensure that they are used optimally to provide the best results for the people. However, to be sustained in the long run, it might need other private donors and volunteers ready to work together to succeed the policy and ensure equality for the LBGTQ+ population. However, some weaknesses with the policy might lead to the eradication of the policy and negatively affect the population if not addressed early enough. One of the weaknesses of the policy is that it does not give a clear guideline on how to approach the social issue in regards to religion and to hire religious people who do not support the policy considering the Civil Rights law that requires equal employment regardless of religion, gender or race. Therefore, this loophole can bring controversies in the future that might negatively affect the policy. Another weakness with the policy is that it is only focused on one population, the LGBTQ+ community, and leaves out the other minorities who might also be facing the same problems this population faces, like discrimination at the workplace and in schools. Therefore, it will only be able to protect a specific portion of the population, ignoring the well-being of the other people. In the long run, sustainability will depend on how valid the policy will be in accordance with the government strategies and the availability of resources to keep the policy running. Therefore, in the long-term, it will be essential to secure enough funds for the implementation of the policy and to keep updating the policy according to the government strategies and the stakeholder engagement.
The policy-making process is an elaborate yet challenging process that needs thorough research and knowledge of the social issue and the vulnerable population. During the process, I have learned that enacting policies defines how people live their lives, and it can either ruin their lives or protect them. In the case of the LGBTQ+ rights that I have addressed in this paper, the only thing that can make the population live in protection where they do not have to live in fear and hopelessness are the policies that policymakers put in place to protect them. Without the policies, even when they protest and match against the inequality, there is no breakthrough.
Another important thing I have learned during the process is the nature and importance of making the policy objectively ready for implementation. Being objective when creating a policy is very important because it is the only thing that will determine if it becomes a success in the end or if it fails in achieving its goals. Some of the things that can ensure the success of a policy include stakeholder engagement, the relation to the government strategies, the financing, and the projection for the future. The policy needs to be focused on the people it is trying to protect while considering the alignment with national laws and government. Therefore, as the focus in this paper is the LGBTQ+ population, the problem is identified as all the inequalities that cause trauma for the population, and the policy needs to be able to protect them from the trauma, either directly or indirectly.
I believe that anything we do today can be used for something future. I believe that everything I learned through the process of creating this policy will help me in the future if I become a policymaker, consultant, or even in writing research papers. Otherwise, one thing I would change about what I have done would be giving a more detailed description and guidelines for the policy.
Woodwrad, A. (2022). “What is Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill? Independent. Retrieved March 21, 2022, from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/dont-say-gay-bill-florida-b2038214.html
Medina et al. (2022). “Improving the lives and rights of the LGBTQ people in America.” American Progress. Retrieved March 21, 2022, from https://www.americanprogress.org/article/improving-lives-rights-lgbtq-people-america/
Hunter, N. D., Eskridge, W. N., & Gostin, L. O. (2021). Health Rights for LGBTQ+ Individuals in the US Under Fire. In JAMA Health Forum (Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. e201520-e201520). American Medical Association.
Conine, D. E., Campau, S. C., & Petronelli, A. K. (2022). LGBTQ+ conversion therapy and applied behavior analysis: A call to action. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 55(1), 6-18.