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Celebrating with ALL of our LGBTQ+ Community

Today marks the start of Pride Month and commemorates the Stonewall Riots, a pivotal moment in reflecting the anger and frustration of the LGBTQ+ community in how they had been treated and like the Compton Cafeteria riot a refusal to no longer be treated like 2nd class citizens.

It’s important that when we remember this and recognise the rights we have thanks to the tireless work of activists before us whose contributions are continuously overlooked and erased especially in recognition of the contribution of trans women of colour, drag queens and sex workers in the Stonewall riots. We need to recognise the huge inequality within our LGBTQ+ community of social, economic and political rights, for example, ace and intersex people currently have no legal protections under the UK Equality Act. There is also the continued failure to recognise LGBTQ+ disabled rights activists and QTIPOC rights activists as well within the mainstream LGBTQ+ liberation movement. We should never become complacent especially as in many places around the world many LGBTQ+ people face daily prejudice, discrimination, and fear for their lives.

In the UK, US and Brazil as well as in other countries that have made significant advancement of LGBTQ+ rights there are continued attempts to halt or reverse this progress especially in targeting specific groups within our LGBTQ+ community in particular trans people. In Hungary, we've seen the government attempt to try and erase trans people with legislation passed, whilst in Poland a 3rd of the local councils have declared themselves "LGBT Free Zones". We must recognise this and continue to work to support each other in solidarity to ensure no minority group or community is left fighting alone - isolated or being given empty promises of support.

We do not exist in our vacuums and we do not achieve or maintain our rights by sacrificing, ignoring or abandoning other groups because we do not experience the same prejudice and oppression they face. In the UK there has been a dramatic increase in the number of hate crimes against minority groups including within the LGBTQ+ community with Lesphobic, Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic attacks and the continued vile toxicity towards trans people. In particular, this has been targeted in different ways towards the trans community from anti-trans groups, from attempting to stir up a moral panic against reforming the GRA, trans women accessing single-sex spaces, trans athletes competing in sports and the existence of trans youth.

Alongside this, there has also been resistance towards promoting inclusive sex and relationship education starting with teaching children at younger ages about the diversity of families. It is ridiculous that there still even seems to be a concern about teaching children about different gender identities or sexual/romantic orientations. It’s damaging to children especially those who are LGBT+ not to reaffirm their gender identity, sexual/romantic orientation and or intersex variations is normal and part of a wider and wonderful diversity of humanity. The only artificial thing would be teaching children that everyone is born as cisgender, heterosexual and dyadic (not intersex). We must also recognise and protect the rights of intersex children to bodily autonomy and providing legal protections to intersex people including to remove intersex as a medicalised Disorder of Sex Development (DSD) and criminalising medical intervention on intersex children along with conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ people.

Yes, Pride Month is a celebration and an opportunity for our community to come together but we should always be reflective of our history, accessible and representative to the most underrepresented and marginalised members of our LGBTQ+ community. It should never become simply a party or as a promotional opportunity for corporations, companies or even UK government departments by simply adding a rainbow to their logo. It’s great that organisations do want to show their support, but it’s more important we look at how they support and represent their LGBTQ+ employees and their ethos in who they work with and how they support LGBTQ+ equality throughout the year rather than just as certain intervals.

So today let’s celebrate the start of Pride Month, remembering the Stonewall Riots, and over the month educate ourselves on how we can improve our allyship especially in actively standing with and supporting underrepresented and minority groups both within and outside of our LGBTQ+ community. We must NEVER become complacent or assume our rights cannot be reversed. If there is one thing Pride Month shows, which intersects with every minority and underrepresented group, respect our existence or expect A LOT of resistance!

"We can no longer stay invisible. We have to be visible. We should not be ashamed of who we are. We have to show the world that we are numerous. There are many of us out there." Sylvia Rivera! (1952- 2002).

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