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Tuesday, June 25
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion oped editorial

EDITORIAL: Bloomington's perfect human rights score is misleading


Bloomington was the only city in Indiana to receive a perfect score of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign 2017 Report

This report, which specifically determines how municipalities treat LGBT people, was judged mostly by criteria such as insurance policies for transgender health care needs, non-discrimination policies regarding sexual orientation and gender identity and public support of the LGBT community by the city’s leaders. 

While these achievements are important and should be celebrated, Bloomington is not a utopia when it comes to human rights — it should not be treated as such. There is still much work to do in ensuring the community is dedicated to protecting the human rights of all people.

First and foremost, the Human Rights Campaign is a respectable organization whose work should not be discredited or ignored. 

LGBT issues, however, are just one aspect of human rights.

Additionally, Bloomington’s perfect score implies there is no room to improve in LGBT rights, which isn’t true. Cities can always do more to foster an inclusive environment, and the Editorial Board worries that a perfect score could lead to the city resting on its laurels. 

Quantitatively measuring human rights and labeling a city as perfect implies a sort of utopia, and Bloomington is simply not one.

There are many other areas of human rights where Bloomington is severely lacking.

For example, Bloomington has had many instances of unfair treatment toward its homeless population. This past summer, police presence increased at People’s Park on Kirkwood in response to the high number of homeless people that gathered there. 

This drove them away to various locations and did nothing to solve the underlying problem. Even though there are multiple homeless shelters in Bloomington, there is simply not enough space for all of them.

With increased police presence in areas where homeless people gather, it gives the impression it is illegal to be homeless here. 

Police insist this increased presence is to curb addiction and criminal activity instead of homelessness, but the issues all go hand-in-hand. 

It does not make sense that a city with a perfect human rights score would treat its own homeless people this way.

Many other issues of human rights continue to manifest in Bloomington. There are seemingly constant cases of drug abuse and alleged sexual assault

Until these problems are fixed, citizens should not label Bloomington as a paragon of human rights — especially using only one study that analyzes just one aspect of human rights as a whole. 

It is important to note the city’s important achievements regarding policy toward the LGBT community, but labelling Bloomington as having a perfect score for human rights is both misleading and disingenuous. 

Until the city solves problems like homelessness and drug abuse, Bloomington should not celebrate its own so-called perfection.

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