Special thanks to the first interviewee from Wisconsin, your stories & experiences sparked the idea for this article.

In Canada, same-sex marriage is legal everywhere. On July 20, 2005, the Civil Marriage Act came into effect, legalizing same-sex marriage across Canada. Most provinces had legalized it before the Civil Marriage Act, however the Act solidified Canada's stance on same-sex marriage, as some provinces hadn't legalized it themselves.

Data source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Canada#/media/File:Map_of_Canada,_same-sex_marriage,_pre_July_2005,_color_adapt.svg

In the United States, things get confusing. Same-sex marriage is generally legal in the United States, as per the Obergefell v. Hodges case in 2015, however it is not universally performed or recognized, as shown below.

Same-sex marriage in the United States.svg
By Lokal_Profil, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

  Performed and recognized
  Recognized when performed elsewhere
  Only recognized by the state and federal governments
  (mixed jurisdiction; not performed by tribal government)
  (mixed jurisdiction; not performed or recognized by tribal government)

Even if same-sex marriage is legal in the majority of the country, it is often left unenforced:

States across U.S. still cling to outdated gay marriage bans
Same-sex marriage became the law of the land in 2015, but you wouldn’t know that looking at the constitutions and statutes of dozens of U.S. states.

Lawmakers are intentionally leaving people out:

Trump-appointed judge dismisses trans defendant’s chosen pronouns
Federal appeals Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan issued an advisory opinion that dismissed a trans defendant’s request for female pronouns.

And even if Trump considers himself an ally, he and his government have rolled back inclusive laws and implemented exclusive, unnecessary, and blatantly transphobic ones, such as transgender people unable to serve their country.

DOD Official: Updated Transgender Policy Based on Treating All With Di
Updates to the Defense Department’s transgender policy now take effect, and defense officials stressed the policy is anchored in the core value of treating all service members with dignity and
A diagnosis of gender dysphoria is presumptively disqualifying under the new policy, just as it is under the 2016 policy, absent a waiver.
Applicants must demonstrate stability in their biological sex for 36 months and “be able to meet all applicable standards of those associated with their biological sex.”

Note that it says stability in their biological sex, not stability in the sex they choose, so even if you transitioned completly and no longer was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, you still can't serve and 36 months = 3 years. Serving your country is a selfless act and being unable to serve because you feel differently about yourself is ridiculous. There is absolutely no good reason to do this.

Here's a non exhaustive list of what the Trump administration has done to roll back LBGTQ rights:

Here's a bigger list in case the one above doesn't prove anything to you:

The Discrimination Administration
Trump’s record of action against transgender peopleSince the day President Trump took office, his administration has waged a nonstop onslaught against the rights of LGBTQ people. In order to keep the administration accountable for its policies and help transgender people keep track of actions taken …

Long story short, the Trump administration is hurting the LBGTQ community in almost every way they can think of. Unfortunately, discrimination towards the LBGTQ community has always existed, however, the administrations actions towards the community has also encouraged & furthered hatred within communities and states, as you'll see in some of the interviews that follow.

My first interview is with a 16 year old bisexual woman from Wisconsin. She considers Wisconsin to be a red state of traditional Christians.

Everyone here is Christian. It kind of sucks because it’s not the okay type of Christian, it’s like the throw hot coffee on the gays Christian.

She's known discrimination and aversion since the 7th grade.

I was outed to my entire school in seventh grade. Someone moved seats away from me in class because I was “disgusting”.

Pride parades do take place, however she fears for her life.

I don't go to pride because I'm afraid I'll get shot.

Her parents force her to go to church, even though she doesn't believe in God. Her church isn't the welcoming kind either.

When I got my nose pierced, a lady at my church pulled me aside and asked me if I was gay, because I “looked gay” and then told me I wasn’t a child of god and that I'd burn in hell for all of eternity.

Her parents are devoted Conservative Christians and for that reason she's closeted to them. Regardless, she mentions her dad remarking that "racism doesn't exist anymore" and "Trump is America’s greatest president" and on both counts, we can all agree that isn't true.

My dad says things like “be a woman and shut up” and “trump is America’s greatest president” and “racism doesn't exist anymore” and “if places don’t want to serve gay people they shouldn't have to”

I asked her if there's support to get out of the abusive relationship she has with her parents. It was a very clear NO.

I would [get out] if I could, but the cops here? They're about as helpful as Trump. I'm 16 so I can’t leave and if I do, the cops will drag my ass back even if my parents are abusive physically.

In Canada, we have the Kids Help Phone for any minor who needs someone to talk to about anything.

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7, national support service. We offer professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French. - KidsHelpPhone.ca

In my research, I was unable to find an equivalent for the United States. There doesn't seem to be a resource for minors to reach out anonymously online. The closest thing I could find is TEEN LINE, however it is comprised of teenagers who volunteer their time to talk to other teens, which is nowhere near the level of support offered at Kids Help Phone. It's better than nothing, however there are issues with that model, but I digress. A national, anonymous support system for minors seems to be non-existent in the United States and that's a problem. Not only would such a system benefit all minors, but it would be a great resource for LGBTQ minors, as we've seen in Canada.

My next interviewee is Connor, a 17 year old transitioned man also from Wisconsin. I asked him about retribution and the safety of pride events. Here's what he had to say.

Me: Do you fear any retribution? Would you consider it dangerous to go to an [pride] event?

Connor: I don't really fear retribution, but it's also not something I completely disregard. And I think that depending [sic] on where in the states you live and what area, could make [it] dangerous. Many pride events have their protests but most of the time it's just yelling and getting close in the other person's face. They really only get dangerous once the first fist is thrown. And depending on where you live, that first fist could make or break how dangerous an event could actually get.

Me: How does the culture or attitude from the general public towards the LGBTQ community feel to you?

Connor: Many times it can feel threatening. Many people every day have something to say whether it is just “all lgbtq people are going to hell' or the religious stuff, for me, rarely I get death threats.

Rarely I get death threats.

I didn't press further on this, however what Connor said alludes to the fact that LGBT people get death threats. Statistics are scarce on this, however we do know that LGBT suicide rates are much higher than the rest of the population.

Thoughts of suicide and suicide-related behaviors are more frequent among LGBTQ youth in comparison to their non-LGBTQ peers. This refers to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, Two-Spirit or queer/questioning youth. - Health Canada
Suicide rates fall among gay youth but still outpace straight peers
A study looking at teen suicide rates between 2009 and 2017 found non-heterosexual young people were more than three times as likely to attempt suicide.

Like I mentioned earlier, the mental health supports aren't as robust for LGBT youth compared to Canada, however Canada does still have an increased suicide rate for LGBT youth.

After interviewing 2 youth from the US, I shifted my focus to Canada in an attempt to see if we have the same problem here, the general oppression & fear of LGBT people. I didn't find the exact same thing. Here's an interview from Ontario.

Nevaeh is a 14 year old bisexual woman from Ontario. I asked her about how people treat her and unfortunately, the response was not encouraging.

Me: Being bisexual, does it change how you are treated by people?

Nevaeh: Not by my friends who accept me, but I got very poorly treated by those people who aren’t okay with it.

Me: How do they treat you?

Nevaeh: Insulting me, cyber bullying and sometimes physical things like walking into me, elbowing me, etc.

Me: How does the culture or attitude from the general public towards the LGBTQ community feel to you?

Nevaeh: My community is generally really supportive of that but it’s concerning seeing so many people who aren’t accepting.

Me: Do you feel safe in your city?

Nevaeh: Yea I do.

Here's another interview from British Columbia this time.

Natasha is a 15 year old bisexual woman from Vancouver Island.

Me: Being bisexual, do you think is has changed the way people treat you?

Natasha: Well mainly it’s just that it’s more awkward in the locker room than it used to be. I feel super uncomfortable sometimes that people will think I’m checking them out or whatever and occasionally people won’t take me as seriously because bisexuality is often thought of as a stopover, but that’s it. Most people here are really accepting.

Me: How does the culture or attitude from the general public towards the LGBTQ community feel to you?

Natasha: Lately it’s been getting better and better, as is all problems towards minorities, but there’s still so much hate that a lot of people don’t see. Every day I see negative comments online and hear about awful stories about people being kicked out of their house, so we’ve still got a long way to go but it is getting better.

Me: Do you feel that [your city] is a safe place for the LGBT community?

Natasha: Yeah, I feel like it’s as safe as any other place, you know there aren’t copious amounts of pride activities but schools and such do their best to make sure the community feels accepted.

Last interview, from BC again.

Shay is a non-binary pansexual from Vancouver Island. I asked her about the attitude towards the LGBTQ community and I got a similar response.

Me: How does the culture or attitude from the general public towards the LGBTQ community feel to you?

Shay: I feel like it’s pretty good mostly, but I know quite a few of my friends have experienced bullying and homophobic slurs. I also know a lot of my trans friends have been deadnamed and misgendered a lot.

Me: Do you feel safe in BC being a member of the LGBTQ community?

Shay: Safe, yes. Entirely accepting, no.

I'd like to stress that these interviews do not reflect the entirety of the issue in either country. Certain states & provinces have their particular inequalities and issues within themselves and these interviews do not necessarily "sum up" the sentiments felt by the entire LGBT community across the countries, however I believe that these interviews do provide a snapshot of the issue at hand, the fact that we have a long way to go in achieving equality between all sexualities and genders. LGBT people are still severely disadvantaged in general and we need to work to change that.

GLAAD’s 2019 Accelerating Acceptance Index: Results Show Further Decline in LGBTQ Acceptance among Americans Ages 18-34
Today, GLAAD announced the findings of its fifth annual Accelerating Acceptance Index, a national survey among U.S.
The majority of non-LGBTQ Americans (80%) support equal rights for the LGBTQ community. This particular statistic has been consistent since 2016.

Only 8 of out 10 Americans support equal rights. That is terrible. However, I prefer to end on a good note.

Social Acceptance of LGBT People in 174 Countries - Williams Institute
The most accepting countries have experienced increased levels of acceptance; Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Canada, and Spain are estimated to have the highest levels of acceptance between 2014-2017 and all have increased in their levels of acceptance.

Acceptance is going up, and that's a good thing. We should fight for equal rights and become more accepting of LGBT people, and acceptance is the first step to equal rights, so the situation is getting better.

If you made it this far, congratulations! Thank you for reading, I hope you learned something. If you found any errors, or have any questions, concerns or comments, email me at [email protected].