Pride Month: A Time of Celebration and Protest
Simply being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is a celebration and protest in itself. May this Pride Month be one where we unite to celebrate who we are and tackle many injustices.
50 years ago, a movement began. This movement was not only one based on love and identity but was also a protest to be who we are in society. The Stonewall Riots became a historic moment where the rise of the LGBTQ+ movement began. Now, decades later, we celebrate Pride Month in June, and after recent events, it is important to remind ourselves that this is a time where the LGBTQ+ community must celebrate who we are, whilst remembering that the struggle for true equality continues.
A Time To Celebrate
When you look at the nature of pride, it is based on two themes: 1. Celebrations and 2. Protesting. The nature of Pride is essentially a complex yet much needed time for the LGBTQ+ community to express ourselves. As a minority group around the world, it is important for us to have platforms, events and spaces to be who we are, engage with people like us, and feel safe and empowered. Thus, Pride is a time and a series of fortunate events where we get to celebrate who we are, promote and support LGBTQ+ culture(s), businesses and people, and ensure that people are able to be who they are.
Progress has been made
Before we look at the concerning, upsetting news that we need to tackle, it is important to recognise the progress that has been made in the last year. Recently, courts in countries such as South Africa and Brazil have made rulings that criminalises hate speech and crime such as homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. These are important legal decisions because it provides the LGBTQ+ community with more protection from discrimination and violence.
The USA’s House of Representatives, despite recent regressions, passed the Equality Bill which aims to protect LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination due to religious reasons. Countries such as Australia and Taiwan have legalised same sex marriages, and as a result, there was an immediate increase of marriages in both countries.
As I mentioned in a previous piece recognising 50 years of Stonewall, LGBTQ+ celebrities, politicians and influencers have been making a big impact in empowering our community. They are providing spaces for queer people to be represented on television, in media, in the workplace and in political spaces, which encourages and inspires us because we are reminded that it is possible for queer individuals to succeed.
Concerns and Grievances
Whilst we are celebrating what we have achieved thus far, it is important to take note of concerning decisions, reports and events taking place around the world that has affected many queer people. Many countries, especially in Africa and Asia, still criminalise same sex relations and sexual interactions. There were upsetting decisions made in Tanzania and Kenya where LGBTQ+ people remain as “criminals” in the eyes of Tanzanian and Kenyan laws, and will face prosecution if caught in a ‘homosexual act’.
In Brunei, the government’s leader declared a New Penal Code that will result in members of the LGBTQ+ community being stoned if caught. These violent, inhumane acts against the community faced mass protest and boycotts took place against Brunei and its government. Unfortunately, cruel mistreatment and injustices against queer people take place in many countries and the death penalty still exists for simply being gay.
Although progression differs in some countries compared to others, conservatives have been ridiculously difficult since they’re opposing anything that aims to protect and include the LGBTQ+ community. In the UK, there’s ongoing conflict between government and communities over having a queer inclusive syllabus in schools. The USA has regressed considerably, with Trump and Pence supporting religious freedom over equality, and consequently, have been taking away many rights for trans people such as being able to join the military.
There is Hope
Despite the concerns, regressions and upsetting news taking place. There is hope for our community. The signs of equality are getting closer for many of us, and it is important that allies assist us in lobbying and fighting for equal rights and access to opportunities. Representation is clearly becoming more prevalent, but it is also vital that we recognise the intersectionalities in our community by giving regard to gender, racial and ethnic diversity to ensure that we can all prosper and feel truly free and equal.