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Y’all Means All

Y’all Means All

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), based in Montgomery, Alabama, has launched a new public education campaign to curb the use of the word “y’all” in certain southern states. The campaign, dubbed “Y’all Means All,” is intended to stop some people from using the word “y’all” as a way to exclude the LGBTQ community and other minorities. 

The word “y’all” is used primarily by white people in the southern United States. The SPLC is worried that y’all could be misinterpreted as a slur against the LGBTQ community when the word “y’all” is actually a contraction of “you” and “all,” giving the term an inherently inclusive connotation.

In the U.S., an estimated 11.3 million adults identify as members of the LGBTQ community (4.5% of the population). Yet, the LGBTQ community still experiences rampant discrimination, especially in the Southern states. The mission of SPLC and of the Y’all Means All campaign is to help protect and advance the rights of the LGBTQ community in the South.

LGBTQ Laws

Over the last several years, Supreme Court cases have ruled on specific laws discriminating against LGBTQ people as unconstitutional, which gave a lot of hope to the LGBTQ community. Even with this legal progress, LGBTQ discrimination still exists at the local, city, state, and federal levels.

In Texas, there is still no statewide law banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination. This means that employers, insurance companies, landlords, and business owners can legally fire, refuse to hire, evict, or refuse service to LGBTQ individuals. This type of discrimination extends beyond the workplace or housing market: many businesses in Texas, such as restaurants, movie theaters, hospitals, and more, can refuse service to people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

LGBTQ Community Discrimination

Members of the LGBTQ community might face discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives influenced by the social or political views of those around them. That being said, the discrimination may not always be explicit; it can exist in the form of verbal harassment, bullying, or physical abuse. Further, discrimination can exist within institutional policies, practices, or procedures by having a disproportionately negative effect on members of the LGBTQ community. 

LGBTQ Efforts In Fort Worth And Elsewhere

The slow adoption of anti-discriminatory laws demonstrates that Texas and the U.S. as a whole still have a lot of progress to make with LGBTQ rights. However, progress is well on its way. For example, only recently, in the fall of 2020, did the state undo a rule change that would have allowed social workers to discriminate against LGBTQ clients.

While Texas, in general, is considered to be a conservative state, it is also a state with a large LGBTQ population. Recently, Texans have been pushing for more and more rights for the LGBTQ community. For example, Fort Worth is taking strides in the right direction by displaying murals emphasizing the importance of inclusivity. The SPLC’s campaign mentioned above, “Y’all Means All,” is another effort to fight for LGBTQ rights and sends the message that everyone is welcome in the South, regardless of their sexual identity.

Health Issues in the LGBTQ Community

The LGBTQ community suffers a higher risk of contracting HIV and STDs, especially if they’re not informed about the risks and don’t take appropriate precautions. While more and more people are becoming aware of safe sex and routine testing, the problem is still prevalent. The biggest issue facing the LGBTQ community is the lack of education surrounding STDs and HIV. Because of this lack of knowledge, many myths are surrounding these diseases. 

As the awareness of these health issues has grown, so has the public’s understanding of the need for LGBTQ awareness and health issues. Recently mainstream culture has begun to recognize and acknowledge the unique health needs of the LGBTQ community. One such organization striving to support the LGBTQ community is the SPLC, with its vision to encourage acceptance in the LGBTQ community and combat discrimination. Campaigns like “Y’all Means All” help promote an open dialogue about the LGBTQ community, and as a result, contribute to the efforts of raising awareness and removing stigma. Get tested regularly to support these efforts by protecting your health and the health of others.

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