As we celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, it’s hard to ignore the subtle resurgence of historical attitudes and opinions towards sexuality and gender identity appearing, once again, in the LGBTQ+ narrative. Some days it feels like we are rolling backwards into the dark ages.
Here's the thing: we have come so far - rights, equality, visibility - in the last 50/60 years, so should we be grateful and just shut up? How many times have we been advised to 'give it a rest’? How many times have we been reminded that 'After all, now that you can legally get married, what more do you want?’.
So what if mental health issues in the LGBTQ+ community are way, way higher than the national average?
So what if no one is paying attention to the mental health crisis within the LGBTQ+ community?
So what if shame negatively impacts LGBTQ+ support groups, charities and organisations?
So what if reporting homophobic verbal attacks usually results in no action being taken by the police?
So what if LGBTQ+ teens are attempting/committing suicide/self harming in alarming numbers?
So what if the elderly LGBTQ+ generation are isolated and marginalised?
So what if a huge proportion of the global population still believes that ‘real’ marriage can only take place between heterosexuals?
So what if Pride celebrations have been hijacked by large corporates who only want to line their pockets?
So what if some LGBTQ+ charities pander to those same corporates at the expense of the people they are supposed to be protecting and supporting?
So what if the many rapes and sexual assaults against LGBTQ+ people go largely unreported?
So what if there is a ridiculous amount of patronising going on in the work place, at GP surgeries, within the judicial system, on TV shows, at schools and universities?
So what if the LGBTQ+ work friendly workplace seal of approval is many times more beneficial to the company’s brand and profile rather than to the employees?
So what if we sometimes we feel we are being tolerated as if we are an inconvenience?
So what if being accepted gives the power to the person who is accepting us rather than the other way around?
Most of us just want to get on with it, to love and be loved, to experience life, to find some happiness in a very f**ked up world. We have mortgages, we have relationships, we have careers, we have a life.
So, we ignore the occasional dirty looks we get when holding our girlfriend's hand.
So, we pretend that the muttered homophobic slurs and banter are not directed at us.
So, we excuse people who think they are entitled to (publicly) question our sex life.
So, we remain silent in the face of all these ‘so what’s'...
It is f**king terrifying to stand up for what matters, but we so need to step up. If not for ourselves, than for those who cannot stand up for themselves. For a start, let’s not be ok with just being tolerated and accepted. Change the narrative. #wearewarriors