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The LGBT Agenda and the US Government

The LGBT Agenda and the US Government

While many consider the LGBT movement as a mere partisan issue, there is much more to it than a political strife between the left and the right.

The LGBT Agenda and the US Government

While many consider the LGBT movement as a mere partisan issue, there is much more to it than a political strife between the left and the right.

Written by Sara Salimi | Copy by Zainabrights, Fatima Alhajri | Design by Fatima El-Zein

On January 24, 2023, the Biden Administration released the first ever Federal Evidence Agenda on LGBTQI+ Equity, a report by the Subcommittee on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Variations in Sex Characteristics (SOGI) of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) [1]. The NSTC is the principal means by which the Executive Branch conducts science and technology policy to effectuate the president’s stated goals. In this latest report, the Subcommittee on Equitable Data (SED) offers a roadmap that federal agencies will use to ensure the collection of “SOGI data” to advance equity for LGBT Americans.

The Evidence Agenda includes the securing of $10 million in government funding “to research adding questions about LGBT Americans to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey” as well as releasing a comprehensive study from the Dept. of Health and Human Services on measuring sexual orientation and gender identity data. The Evidence Agenda also highlights incoming changes for documenting gender identity on federal forms, such as offering passports with “X” gender markers for the first time [2].

While the push for LGBT rights has played a crucial role in shaping the Democratic party’s platform in recent years, Americans are divided on the extent to which funding, advocacy, and education should endorse this socio-political movement. The Biden Administration’s recent Evidence Agenda received both support and backlash from various groups in the US. While some applauded it for expanding research and rights for the LGBT community, others raised serious concerns about an agenda that encroaches on the freedoms of those who do not support it.

Parents, the schooling system, and the LGBT agenda

From bathroom bills in 2017 to recent controversies over transgender students in sports to gender-affirming care, the LGBT agenda has received some of its most intense backlash in relation to the schooling system. Lawmakers, politicians, think-tanks, educators, and parents have been particularly vocal about this issue as LGBT advocacy and education has increased across the US public schooling system. 

This is especially apparent during “Pride Month” in June, where schools hold ‘gay pride parades’ and other LGBT celebratory events that students are often required to participate in. These events have also faced a considerable amount of backlash from parents, the most recent one being a protest over Pride month assembly at a Los Angeles elementary school, where protesters carried signs saying, “leave our kids alone” and “parental choice matters.” One parent explained that Christian families and those with conservative values “don’t feel this material is appropriate to teach children and believe it’s a parent’s right to choose” [25].

Federally funded research in several institutions now endorses the idea that comprehensive sex education should begin as early as Kindergarten, and that “children as young as preschool age not only comprehend, but can openly discuss subjects as varied as gender diversity, gender nonconformity, and gender-based oppression” [11]. Seven states require that school curriculums include LGBT topics, and the push is to start young. California’s Dept. of Education, for example, urges Kindergarten teachers to dispel gender stereotypes because “some children in Kindergarten or even younger have identified as transgender” [12].

Several state governors have also pushed back against teaching LGBT topics in schools, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who passed a law prohibiting public schools from presenting any instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation in classroom curriculum in an effort to push back against “woke gender ideology” [13,15].  Since then, about a dozen other states have passed similar legislation, referred to by opponents as “Don’t Say Gay” laws [15]. Florida Gov. DeSantis responded to the backlash against the legislation by saying, “We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination” [15].

A survey sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers found that 58 percent of likely voters in battleground states disapprove of the way students are taught about sexual preference and gender identity. Around 31 percent explained that “students are too young for the material,” while 27 percent believed parents are responsible for teaching it [12]. A large survey conducted at the University of South Carolina found that half of Republicans believe parents should have the most influence over what goes into school curriculums, while only 20 percent of Democrats held the same view, instead favoring teachers over parents in determining curricula [16].

These studies point to the large partisan divides when it comes to teaching about gay and transgender issues at school. About 85 percent of Democrats believe high school students should learn about sexual orientation and gender identity, while 37 percent of Republicans want students to learn about sexual orientation and 32 percent want them to learn about gender identity. These numbers drop much lower for assigning books on these topics [16].

These opinions are also shared by Americans from blue states like Michigan, where Dearborn parents protested the inclusion of sexually explicit books in school libraries, including books with themes of nudity, pornography, and sexual confusion [14]. Several state legislators have also spoken out, including Texas GOP Rep. Jared Patterson who stated that “the sexualization of our children must stop” [15].

“Blanket Authorization” of the LGBT agenda

One of the many questions raised by critics of the LGBT agenda concerns the rapid growth of this movement within government bodies and public institutions. Examples include the Biden Administration granting “blanket authorization” to fly Pride flags at embassies on official flag poles or the billions of dollars of funding dedicated to this issue in the schooling system and beyond.  

Ironically, Joe Biden voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, which blocked federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and two years earlier, he voted to cut off federal funds to schools that teach the acceptance of homosexuality [27]. In fact, Biden declared in 1973 that homosexuals are security risks. Today, however, “the most pro-equality president we have ever seen” has so completely identified with the LGBT cause that his dissenting history has been virtually forgotten.

Ric Grenell, former acting Director of National Intelligence, captured this contradictory stance best: “for more than four decades, Joe Biden walked lockstep with the political establishment to marginalize the LGBT community until it was politically expedient – at which point he tried to pretend he was a leader on equality” [28].

These trends have also rapidly increased in public education, especially in universities with students from a vast array of political viewpoints. The “silence is violence” mantra that became popularized on college campuses years ago has now been replaced with university-backed shut down of opposing views on subjects ranging from abortion to LGBT. This is while the “free speech” argument is extensively used by LGBT advocates, and yet the same constitutional right for opposing viewpoints is shunned.

The redefinition of opposing views as “violence” has been on the rise since 2013, when Generation Z began entering college. Disinviting speakers, canceling students and professors, and equating opposing viewpoints as “hate speech” have now become norms on many campuses and are supported by college administration. For example, just last week, the Pride office website at the University of Colorado declared that misgendering people can be considered “an act of violence” [29].

Kelley McGee, director of public relations at Christopher Newport University, expressed worry about where America’s educational institutions are headed. “What are we teaching our young people as far as life skills go if everything we do offends them, and every time they’re offended they protest and get their way?”

The LGBT cause as justification for military intervention

In 2015, the UN Security Council met to discuss the persecution of LGBT Syrians and Iraqis in ISIS held territories. The meeting received significant attention, but was also met with anger and scrutiny as it resembled similar historical examples of justifying military intervention in non-Western nations and carrying out “civilizing missions” framed within the logic of security [3]. John Kirby, the meeting spokesperson from Washington DC, made this agenda abundantly clear in his statement: “The United States will continue to raise the plight of targeted LGBT individuals around the world and work to protect their basic human rights” [4].

The same level of attention to basic human rights, however, has not been afforded to the victims of US military rape in Iraq. Several classified and unclassified reports documenting sexual violence against Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison revealed that US military personnel have illegally detained, raped, and sexually violated detainees, especially women [9]. Attorney Amal Kadham Swadi was one of seven female lawyers who represented women detainees in Abu Ghraib in 2003, and pieced together a situation of systemic abuse against Iraqi men and women by US guards, including sexual humiliation and rape. Swadi explained that the sexual abuse trends were not limited to Abu Ghraib, but were “happening all across Iraq” [10].

This is while each day, on average, more than 45 men and 53 women in the armed forces are sexually assaulted according to Pentagon reports [5]. These numbers are also vastly underreported, especially for men [6]. Even further, female service members are more likely to be sexually assaulted by a military member than shot by an enemy combatant at war [7]. Military academics have reported record rates of sexual assault at US military service academies, with the highest rate on record in the 2021-2022 academic year [8].

The gender issue and constitutional freedoms

As the LGBT movement in the US gained significant traction in recent years and rights for LGBT individuals expanded in liberal democracies across the West, longstanding rights of religious freedom as well as constitutional freedoms of speech and expression have suffered a corresponding decline [17]. Adherents to many religions including Islam, Christianity, and Judaism have frequently criticized the LGBT movement’s influence over virtually every aspect of society, especially in areas that concern religious practice and ideological upbringing in families. 

Religious intellectuals have raised the argument that contrary to popular belief, modern democratic notions of freedom and dignity are outgrowths of religious ontologies on the free human person, not the other way around [17]. The conception of human freedom in the Abrahamic faiths, for example, involves adherence to a principled lifestyle that sanctifies the family institution. The sexual morality inherent to these religions opposes same-sex marriage, and consequently, followers of these religions are often vocal against the LGBT movement by extension of their faith and religious freedom [17].

Organizations such as the Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union frequently reference the US Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection, freedom of speech and expression, and the right to privacy to push back against LGBT discrimination [18,19]. Advocates of the movement fervently argue that these constitutional rights should be equally applied to LGBT individuals.

It follows logically then that opposition to the LGBT movement and its expanding influence in the social sphere should also be equally protected under the same constitution. Americans have frequently raised concerns over eroding freedoms of speech and expression due to the cancel culture associated with opposing mainstream views on the LGBT movement. This is especially apparent given that in the battle of ideas between the two sides, “one is universally hammered for being intolerant bigots and the other side is enlightened and tolerant” [20].

The targeting of dissenting voices

Despite the slogans of tolerance and enlightenment that are championed in the US, many in America believe they are losing fundamental rights like the freedom to speak their minds and voice their opinions without fear of being threatened and publicly shamed [23]. These social silencing trends have been on the rise for years, and are often characterized by labeling, targeting, shaming, and even threatening individuals who dare to dissent with mainstream public opinion, particularly those held by the political left. There are often efforts to have people fired from their jobs if they speak their conscience on issues directly threatening their ability to raise children with any sense of sexual morality.

In a national poll commissioned by Times Opinion and Siena College, only 34 percent of respondents believed all Americans enjoyed freedom of speech completely. The poll revealed that “84 percent of adults said it is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem that some Americans do not speak freely in everyday situations because of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism” [23].

The poll also found that 46 percent of Americans said they felt less free talking about politics compared to a decade ago. Roughly 55 percent of respondents said they had intentionally remained silent over the past year because they were concerned about retaliation or harsh criticism. Women were more likely to report doing so: 61 percent of women compared to 49 percent of men [23].

These statistics are easily traceable to real-life situations that have been unfolding in the past several years. In the most recent incident, Muslim comedian and TikToker Shumirun Nessa was attacked and targeted by followers of Jeffrey Marsh, an LGBT activist and TikToker who displayed inappropriate behavior toward minors on social media. In one video, Marsh explains, “your parents screwed up” before going on to say “that’s why I made a Patreon so that we could talk about it, so that we could connect in a way that has more privacy, so that we can talk to each other in a way that’s more open” [21].

Nessa criticized some of the content on Marsh’s Patreon, which included his advice on how to go “non-contact” with unsupportive family members and other conversations related to sex. She addressed her points toward parents and guardians, advising them to be careful and keep their children safe [22].

Despite being respectful in her words to Marsh and the LGBT community, Nessa was targeted and attacked by a number of Marsh’s followers who accused her of starting a “transphobic smear campaign.” They leaked photos of her without the hijab, obtained private information about her children to threaten her on email, and also damaged her car.

Following the attacks, Nessa deleted her content about Marsh out of fear for her family’s safety and showed the threatening emails she received to the police, who said they will investigate [22].

There are no shortage of similar examples where dissenting voices were immediately canceled, ranging from school and university students to celebrities and politicians. J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, came under fire in 2020 after being accused of making transphobic comments on social media.

Despite the continued criticism, she did not back down and later published an essay defending her beliefs. She explained, “When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he's a woman – and, as I've said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth” [24].

While many consider the LGBT movement as a mere partisan issue, there is much more to it than political strategy. The main concern with the expanding influence of this movement is less about individual freedom than it is about the government adopting a religion of its own making. What was once a personal decision has become a national effort to vilify, and ultimately criminalize, any moral belief system that upholds some semblance of sexual morality.

The Islamic Perspective on LGBT

While some recent discourse among Muslims has begun to question the Islamic take on LGBT, there remains a Quran and Hadith-backed consensus on this issue. Muslim scholars in America recently united in a statement to clarify Islam’s position on LGBT. The statement, titled “Clarifying Sexual and Gender Ethics in Islam,” addressed the moral, constitutional, and Islamic dimensions concerning this topic [26].

First, the statement establishes that Islam’s morality is rooted in divine guidance as opposed to changing social movements and trends of the time. This means that Muslims submit to a Creator who possesses absolute knowledge and wisdom to inform their basis for morality. 

Second, sexual relations in Islam are permitted only within the bounds of marriage between a man and a woman. Homosexual relations – both premarital and extramarital – are explicitly forbidden in the Islamic belief system. In this way, aspects of sexual ethics central to Islam and its established moral and familial structure are not subject to revision. 

Third, Islam established before any modern social justice movement that men and women are spiritually equal before God, despite having characteristics that distinguish them as two separate genders that complete and complement one another through the institution of family.

Fourth, Islam prohibits medical procedures that change the sex of healthy individuals, but allows medical care for those born with biological ambiguities for corrective reasons.

Finally, Islam discourages public discourse of sexual behavior or prying into others’ private lives.
Islam teaches that God holds individuals accountable for their words and actions, not their thoughts or feelings. Individuals’ wrong actions should not dictate their identity, and neither should Muslims take pride in identifying with labels that categorize them by any sinful act.

Written by Sara Salimi | Copy by Zainabrights, Fatima Alhajri | Design by Fatima El-Zein

  17. Franck, Matthew J., ‘Introduction: Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Dignity of the Human Person’, in Timothy Shah, Thomas Farr, and Jack Friedman (eds), Religious Freedom and Gay Rights: Emerging Conflicts in the United States and Europe (New York, 2016; online edn, Oxford Academic, 23 June 2016), 

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