One question that never fails to irritate me is “why don’t straight people have a pride month?” Apart from the fact that they’ve had Valentine’s Day since the 14th century, my usual response is “be thankful you don’t need one.”
But now there’s a new question that loves to trickle its way into my social life. “Why do we still need a pride month?” This is usually led with the false assumption that we’ve already got equality. “You can marry and adopt,” they spout, “and no-one can discriminate against you!” Yet, little do they realise that black people have all those rights, too, and they’re still protesting.
Just because you can’t see prejudice, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
Homophobia Is Still A Thing
Three years ago, 4.87 million people voted “no” for marriage equality in Australia. Now, I’m not saying that all those people are the true definition of homophobes. Not all of them will disown their queer child. Or even bash up a queer person given the chance. I know this because I’ve had relatives who voted “no”, and they never hated me. In fact, they’ve made it clear that they love me.
But still, that’s nearly 5 million people who believed that same-sex couples shouldn’t be given the governmental right to marry who they love. And let’s face it, some of them would probably kick their child out for liking the same sex.
In fact, that’s still a worrying problem. According to News.com.au, Australia’s LGBTQI youth are twice as likely to experience homelessness than their straight counterparts.
In the USA, LGBT youth make up 40% of all youth homelessness according to Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
And in the UK, a quarter of adults would not feel proud to have an LGBTQI child according to The Independent.
This goes to show that LGBTQI people are still being kicked out of home, even today. Which means there are still mindless bigots out there who need a good dose of education. Or a metaphorical mind slap.
And gay pride is not just for the western world. Let’s not forget the voice we give to other LGBTQI communities who are still facing prosecution in other countries around the world — 70 of them, to be exact. Or the still-standing death penalty for LGBTQI people in Yemen, Iran, Brunei, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Afganistan, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.
We cannot end the shouting when so many people are still facing horrific abuse because of their sexuality. That’s the pure definition of selfish.
And Let’s Not Forget Transphobia
As noted by J.K. Rowling’s current ongoing controversy, it seems gender and sex are difficult subjects to grasp. So much so that trans and intersex people still face discrimination today.
We are still living in a time where people really want to know what’s between someone’s legs, especially those that look neither manly nor womanly. And unless you’re attracted to them (or you’re their doctor or parents), that’s really no business of yours.
But discrimination against transgender people is still rife. Even in the USA, it’s unsurprising that President Donald Trump is pushing ahead to remove transgender from sex discrimination protections in the health care industry. Wasn’t he the one who touted his support for the LGBTQI community?
On top of transgender issues, intersex people face harsher conditions in their struggle for freedom. And their greatest issue at the moment is telling the world that they are normal and don’t need fixing.
Unfortunately, medical boards across the western world consider their biological sex development as a disorder – even in the USA and Australia. And intersex people are shouting that they are not disordered. Most of them don’t even want to change, nor even need to from a medical standpoint. Yet there are far too many doctors out there who feel the need to “fix” their mixed genitalia or stuff them with hormones to make them develop according to their physical outward appearance.
They treat it as a problem when it’s not actually a problem.
There’s a whole rainbow in the LGBTQI community, and all it’s encompassing issues need to be addressed. This includes the many transcending facets of our community, whether it’s people of colour, gays and lesbians, old and young.
We cannot stop until the world is right. Until all genders and sexualities are accepted. And even then we should not stop.
Because history has an awful habit of repeating itself.