The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Society has become more tolerant and accepting of changes to the social order. Yet many people still feel the need to cover when in public. Covering is a practice of sexual minorities hiding who they really are for fear of judgment and stereotyping. The media portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (collectively LGBT) issues allows people to grow more comfortable and accepting of sexual minorities. In the climate of change and acceptance, many LGBT individuals choose to live their lives cover-free. However, refusing to downplay their stigmatized identities leads to routine denial of equal treatment. The rights of sexual minorities remain a hotly contested topic. The United States Constitution seems, at first thought, to be an ideal place to search for the protected rights of an entire class of people. However, the existing jurisprudence about gay rights reflects a deep divide, abundant in bias and prejudice. It is also not practical for sexual minorities to march on Washington for every aspect of equal rights the sexual majority enjoys. Specifically, this note addresses the inadequacy of legal remedies available to sexual minorities in medical emergencies. An analysis of four cases revealed that regardless of whether in conformity or defiance of the closeted existence, the families involved in these medical emergencies suffered harmful consequences imposed by the societal covering demands. LGBT individuals are a continual target for discrimination in medical emergencies and other crucial aspects of their lives. Government protection in the form of a comprehensive legislative measure would transmit a potent message that sexual discrimination is not acceptable. Such legislation would pave the way for similar state and local legislation which may help change societal attitudes toward sexual minorities.

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St. Mary's University School of Law



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