“People as things, that’s where it starts.”
“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes–”
“But they starts with thinking about people as things.”
– Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum
There is a baseline of behavior that is proper in a civilized society.
Treat people as people.
This applies across the board. Human beings deserve a baseline of respect. That applies regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, background, or any number of other factors.
Nobody has a right to demand that you change who you are as a person. Absent harm to others, you have no responsibility to conform to some other’s view of the kind of person you should be. We each have the right, as human beings, to expect basic decency and tolerance from others.
Mutual respect and tolerance should be the default, not the exception.
Sadly, we fall short of that ideal far too often.
The main purpose of the government is to protect citizens from violence and fraud. Loss of tolerance and respect for others at any level can endanger life, liberty, or property. In that case, it is absolutely the duty of the government to step in and protect individuals.